Set of Demonstration Metric Grain Measures Made by the Shakers

Several members of the religious group the United Society of Believers, or Shakers, were known for their skill as woodworkers. From March of 1877 until1900 (at least), the Shakers of West Gloucester (later Sabbathday), Maine sold demonstration metric grain measures like these. The objects were first marketed by the American Metric Bureau of Boston and then by the Library Bureau.
The set consists of seven copper-soldered wooden volumetric measures. These are marked to with the volume represented. The sizes include, from largest to smallest, 1 dekaliter (a dekaliter is 10 liters), 1/2 dekaliter (5 liters), 2 liters, 1 liter, 5 deciliters (a deciliter is 1/10 of a liter or 100 cubic centimeters), 2 deciliters, and 1 deciliter. All of the measures are stamped: Sealed. The two largest also are stamped: United Society (/) W. Gloucester, Me.
P.A. Kidwell, "Publicizing the Metric System in America from F. R. Hassler to the American Metric Bureau," Rittenhouse, 5 #4, pp. 111-117.
Currently not on view
Object Name
volumetric measures
date made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
dekaliter: 9 11/16 in x 10 1/8 in; 24.60625 cm x 25.7175 cm
deciliter: 2 11/16 in x 2 5/16 in; 6.82625 cm x 5.87375 cm
liter: 4 9/16 in x 4 5/8 in; 11.58875 cm x 11.7475 cm
place made
United States: Maine, West Gloucester
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
Metric System
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Metric System
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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