Apothecaries' system
Encyclopedia
The apothecaries' system of weights is a historical system of mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

units that were used by physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s and apothecaries
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

for medical recipes, and also sometimes by scientists. The English version of the system is closely related with the English troy
Troy weight
Troy weight is a system of units of mass customarily used for precious metals, gemstones, and black powder.There are 12 troy ounces per troy pound, rather than the 16 ounces per pound found in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce is 480 grains, compared with the avoirdupois ounce,...

system of weights, the pound and grain being exactly the same in both. It divides a pound into 12 ounces, an ounce into 8 drachms, and a drachm into 3 scruples or 60 grains.
This exact form of the system was used in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

; in some of its former colonies it survived well into the 20th century. The apothecaries' system of measures is a similar system of volume
Volume
Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some closed boundary, for example, the space that a substance or shape occupies or contains....

units based on the fluid ounce.
For a long time, medical recipes were written in Latin, often using special symbols to denote weights and measures.

The use of different measure and weight systems depending on the purpose was an almost universal phenomenon in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

between the decline of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

and metrication
Metrication
Metrication refers to the introduction and use of the SI metric system, the international standard for physical measurements. This has involved a long process of independent and systematic conversions of countries from various local systems of weights and measures. Metrication began in France in...

. This was connected with international commerce, especially with the need to use the standards of the target market and to compensate for a common weighing practice that caused a difference between actual and nominal weight. In the 19th century, most European countries or cities still had at least a "commercial" or "civil" system (such as the English avoirdupois
Avoirdupois
The avoirdupois system is a system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces. It is the everyday system of weight used in the United States and is still widely used to varying degrees by many people in Canada, the United Kingdom, and some other former British colonies despite the official adoption...

system) for general trading, and a second system (such as the troy
Troy weight
Troy weight is a system of units of mass customarily used for precious metals, gemstones, and black powder.There are 12 troy ounces per troy pound, rather than the 16 ounces per pound found in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce is 480 grains, compared with the avoirdupois ounce,...

system) for precious metals such as gold and silver. The system for precious metals was usually divided in a different way from the commercial system, often using special units such as the carat. More significantly, it was often based on different weight standards.

The apothecaries' system often used the same ounces as the precious metals system, although even then the number of ounces in a pound could be different. The apothecaries' pound was divided into its own special units, which were inherited (via influential treatises of Greek physicians such as Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances , that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.-Life:...

and Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, 1st and 2nd century) from the general-purpose weight system of the Romans. Where the apothecaries' weights and the normal commercial weights were different, it was not always clear which of the two systems was used in trade between merchants and apothecaries, or by which system apothecaries weighed medicine when they actually sold it. In old merchants' handbooks the former system is sometimes referred to as the pharmaceutical system, and distinguished from the apothecaries' system.

## English-speaking countries

Weights: UK (Imperial) and US
Weight
(abbreviation)
pound
(℔)
ounce
(℥)
dra(ch)m
(ℨ)
scruple
(℈)
grain
(gr.)
1 ℔ 12 ℥ 96 ℨ 288 ℈ 5,760 gr.
1 ℥ 8 ℨ 24 ℈ 480 gr.
1 ℨ 3 ℈ 60 gr.
1 ℈ 20 gr.
metric equivalent 373 g 31.1 g 3.89 g 1.296 g 64.8 mg

The traditional English apothecaries' system of weights is as shown in the table, the pound, ounce and grain being identical to the troy pound, ounce and grain.
In the United Kingdom, a reform in 1824 made the troy pound the primary weight unit (a role in which it was superseded half a century later by the Avoirdupois pound), but this had no effect on apothecaries' weights. However, the Medicinals Act of 1858 completely abolished the apothecaries' system in favour of the standard Avoirdupois system. In the United States, the apothecaries' system remained official until it was abolished in 1971 in favour of the metric system.

From the pound down to the scruple, the English apothecaries' system was a subset of the Roman weight system except that the troy pound and its subdivisions were slightly heavier than the Roman pound and its subdivisions. Similar systems were used all over Europe, but with considerable local variation described below under Variants.

The English-speaking countries also used a system of measure units, or in modern terminology volume
Volume
Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some closed boundary, for example, the space that a substance or shape occupies or contains....

units, based on the apothecaries' system. A volume of liquid that was approximately that of an apothecaries' ounce of water was called a fluid ounce, and was divided into fluid drachms and sometimes also fluid scruples. The analogue of the grain was called a minim
Minim (unit)
The minim is a unit of volume in both the imperial and US customary systems of measurement. Specifically it is of a fluidram or of a fluid ounce....

.
The Imperial
Imperial unit
The system of imperial units or the imperial system is the system of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which was later refined and reduced. The system came into official use across the British Empire...

and US systems differ in the size of the basic unit (the gallon
Gallon
The gallon is a measure of volume. Historically it has had many different definitions, but there are three definitions in current use: the imperial gallon which is used in the United Kingdom and semi-officially within Canada, the United States liquid gallon and the lesser used United States dry...

or the pint
Pint
The pint is a unit of volume or capacity that was once used across much of Europe with values varying from state to state from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, the pint was replaced with the metric system during the nineteenth century...

, one gallon being equal to eight pints), and in the number of fluid ounces per pint. Apothecaries' systems for volumes were internationally much less common than those for weights. Before introduction of the Imperial Units in the UK, all apothecaries' measures were based on the wine gallon
Wine gallon
A wine gallon is a unit of capacity that was used routinely in England as far back as the 14th century, and by statute under Queen Anne since 1707. Britain abandoned the wine gallon in 1826 when it adopted imperial units for measurement...

, which survived in the US under the name liquid gallon or wet gallon.

The wine gallon was abolished in Britain in 1824, and this system was replaced by a new one based on the newly introduced Imperial gallon. Since the Imperial gallon is 20% more than the liquid gallon, the same is true for the Imperial pint in relation to the liquid pint. This explains why the number of fluid ounces per gallon had to be adjusted in the new system so that the fluid ounce was not changed too much by the reform. Even so, the modern UK fluid ounce is 4% less than the US fluid ounce, and the same is true for the smaller units. For some years both systems were used concurrently in the UK.

Measures: US (and UK before 1824)
liquid pt fl. ounce fl. dram fl. scruple minim
1 liq pt 16 f℥ 128 fℨ 384 f℈ 7,680 ♏
1 f℥ 8 fℨ 24 f℈ 480 ♏
1 fℨ 3 f℈ 60 ♏
1 f℈ 20 ♏
473 ml 29.6 ml 3.70 ml 1.23 ml 0.062 ml
Key: pt = pint, fl. = fluid
Measures: UK (Imperial)
pint fl. ounce fl. drachm fl. scruple minim
1 pt 20 f℥ 160 fℨ 480 f℈ 9,600 ♏
1 f℥ 8 fℨ 24 f℈ 480 ♏
1 fℨ 3 f℈ 60 ♏
1 f℈ 20 ♏
568 ml 28.4 ml 3.55 ml 1.18 ml 0.059 ml
Key: fl. = fluid

Apothecaries' measures eventually fell out of use in the UK and were officially abolished in 1971. In the US, they are still occasionally used, for example with prescribed medicine being sold in four ounce ( iv) bottles.

## Medical recipes

Until around 1900, medical recipes and most European pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

s were written in Latin. Here is a typical example from the middle of the 19th century.
 Infusion of Dandelion, &c. 4 fluid ounces of dandelionTaraxacum officinaleTaraxacum officinale, the common dandelion , is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae . It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T... infusionInfusionAn infusion is the outcome of steeping plants with desired chemical compounds or flavors in water or oil.-History:The first recorded use of essential oils was in the 10th or 11th century by the Persian polymath Avicenna, possibly in The Canon of Medicine.-Preparation techniques:An infusion is very... 2 fluid drachms of dandelion extractExtractAn extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Extracts may be sold as tinctures or in powder form.... drachm of sodium carbonateSodium carbonateSodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the... 3 drachms of potassium tartratePotassium tartratePotassium tartrate, dipotassium tartrate or argol has formula K2C4H4O6. It is the potassium salt of tartaric acid. It is often confused with potassium bitartrate, also known as cream of tartar... 3 fluid drachms of rhubarbRhubarbRhubarb is a group of plants that belong to the genus Rheum in the family Polygonaceae. They are herbaceous perennial plants growing from short, thick rhizomes. They have large leaves that are somewhat triangular-shaped with long fleshy petioles... tinctureTinctureA tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a non-volatile substance . To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60%... 20 drops of henbane tincture Make mixture. Write: "One third part to be takenthree times a day. In dropsical and visceral affections."

The use of Latin ensured that the recipes could be read by an international audience. There was a technical reason why was written and as or : Since only the units of the apothecaries' system were used in this way, this made it clear that the civil weight system was not meant.

### Diversity of local standards

 12 ounces 1 ounce Standard 300 g 25 g Venice 325 g 27 g Roman EmpireRoman EmpireThe Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean.... 340 g 28 g Modern Rome 345 g 29 g Iberian peninsula 350 g 29 g Prussia 360 g 30 g Nuremberg 370 g 31 g Troy 420 g 35 g Habsburg monarchy

The basic form of the apothecaries' system is essentially a subset of the Roman weight system. An apothecaries' pound normally consisted of 12 ounces. (In France this was changed to 16 ounces, and in Spain the customary unit was the marco, a mark of 8 ounces.) In the south of Europe and in France, the scruple was generally divided into 24 grains, so that one ounce consisted of 576 grains. Nevertheless, the subdivision of an ounce was somewhat more uniform than that of a pound, and a common feature of all variants is that 12 ounces are roughly 100 drachms (96–128 drachms) and a grain is roughly the weight of a physical grain.

It is most convenient to compare the various local weight standards by the metric weights of their ounces. The actual mass of an ounce varied by ±17% (5 g) around the typical value of 30 g. The table only shows approximate values for the most important standards; even the same nominal standard could vary slightly between one city and its neighbour. The range from 25 g to 31 g is filled with numerous variants, especially the Italian range up to 28 g. But there is a relatively large gap between the troy ounces of 31 g and the Habsburg ounce of 35 g. The latter is the product of an 18th century weight reform.

Even in Turkey a system of weights similar to the European apothecaries' system was used for the same purpose. For medical purposes the tcheky (approx. 320 g) was divided in 100 drachms, and the drachm in (16 killos or) 64 grains. This is close to the classical Greek weight system, where a mina (corresponding roughly to a Roman libra) was also divided into 100 drachms.

With the beginning of metrication, some countries standardized their apothecaries' pound to an easily remembered multiple of the French gramme. E.g. in the Netherlands the Dutch troy pound of 369.1 g was standardized in 1820 to 375.000 g, to match a similar reform in France. The British troy pound retained its value of 373.202 g until in 2000 it was legally defined in metric terms, as 373.2417216 g. (At this time its use was already illegal for all purposes except trading precious metals.)

### Basic variants

In the Romance speaking part of Europe the scruple was divided in 24 grains, in the rest of Europe in 20 grains. Notable exceptions were Venice and Sicily, where the scruple was also divided in 20 grains.
Non-Romance variant
Libra Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Grana
1 Lb. 12 Unc. 96 Dr. 288 Scr. 5,760 Gr.
1 Unc. 8 Dr. 24 Scr. 480 Gr.
1 Dr. 3 Scr. 60 Gr.
1 Scr. 20 Gr.
360 g 30 g 4 g 1.3 g 60 mg
Romance variant
Libra Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Grana
1 Lb. 12 Unc. 96 Dr. 288 Scr. 6,912 Gr.
1 Unc. 8 Dr. 24 Scr. 576 Gr.
1 Dr. 3 Scr. 72 Gr.
1 Scr. 24 Gr.
360 g 30 g 4 g 1.3 g 50 mg

The Sicilian apothecaries' ounce was divided in 10 drachms. Since the scruple was divided in only 20 grains, like in the northern countries, an ounce consisted of 600 grains. This was not too different from the situation in most of the other mediterranean countries, where an ounce consisted of 576 grains.

In France, at some stage the apothecaries' pound of 12 ounces was replaced by the larger civil pound of 16 ounces. The subdivisions of the apothecaries' ounce were the same as in the other Romance countries, however, and were different from the subdivisions of the otherwise identical civil ounce.

### Roman weight system

Roman weights
libra uncia drachma scrupulum obolus siliqua chalcus
1 pound 12 ounces 96 drachms 288 scruples 576 oboli 1,728 siliquas 4,608 chalci
1 ounce  8 drachms 24 scruples 48 oboli 144 siliquas 384 chalci
1 drachm  3 scruples 6 oboli 18 siliquas 48 chalci
1 scruple  2 oboli 6 siliquas 16 chalci
327 g 27.3 g 3.41 g 1.14 g 568 mg 189 mg 71 mg

The basic apothecaries' system consists of the units pound, ounce and scruple from the classical Roman weight system, together with the originally Greek drachm and a new subdivision of the scruple into either 20 ("barley") or 24 ("wheat") grains . In some countries other units of the original system remained in use, for example in Spain the obolo and siliqua. In some cases the apothecaries' and civil weight systems had the same ounces ("an ounce is an ounce"), but the civil pound consisted of 16 ounces. Siliqua is Latin for the seed of the carob tree.

Many attempts were made to reconstruct the exact mass of the Roman pound. One method for doing this consists in weighing old coins; another uses the fact that Roman weight units were derived from Roman units of length similarly to the way the kilogramme was originally derived from the metre, i.e. by weighing a known volume of water. Nowadays the Roman pound is often given as 327.45 g, but one should keep in mind that (apart from the other uncertainties that come with such a reconstruction) the Roman weight standard is unlikely to have remained constant to such a precision over the centuries, and that the provinces often had somewhat inexact copies of the standard. The weight and subdivision of the pound in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

was reformed by Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, but in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

it remained essentially the same. Since Byzantine coins circulated up to Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, the old Roman standard continued to be influential through the Middle Ages.

### Weight system of Salerno

 Libra 360 g Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Granum 1 Lb. 12 Unc. 108 Dr. 324 Scr. 6480 Gr. 1 Unc. 9 Dr. 27 Scr. 540 Gr. 1 Dr. 3 Scr. 60 Gr. 1 Scr. 20 Gr. 30 g 3.3 g 1.1 g 56 mg

The history of mediaeval medicine started roughly around the year 1000 with the school of medicine in Salerno
Schola Medica Salernitana
The Schola Medica Salernitana was the first medieval medical school in the cosmopolitan coastal south Italian city of Salerno, which provided the most important source of medical knowledge in Western Europe at the time...

, which combined elements of Latin, Greek, Arabic and Jewish medicine. Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

and Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances , that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.-Life:...

(who had used the Graeco-Roman weight system) were among the most important authorities, but also Arabic physicians, whose works were systematically translated into Latin.

According to De ponderibus et mensuris, a famous 13th century text that exists in numerous variations and is often ascribed to Dino di Garbo, the system of weights used in Salerno was different from the systems used in Padua and Bologna. As can be seen from the table, it was also different from the Roman weight system used by Galenus and Dioscorides and from all modern apothecaries' systems: The ounce was divided into 9 drachms, rather than 8 drachms.

Centuries later, the region around Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

was the only exception to the rule that (except for skipping units that had regionally fallen out of use) the apothecaries' ounce was subdivided down to the scruple in exactly the same way as in the Roman system: It divided the ounce into 10 drachms.

## Romance countries

While there will naturally have been some changes throughout the centuries, this section only tries to give a general overview over the situation that was recorded in detail in numerous 19th century merchants' handbooks.
 1 pound 1 ounce state or city 301.2 g 25.1 g VeniceVeniceVenice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region... 320.8 g 26.7 g Kingdom of the Two SiciliesKingdom of the Two SiciliesThe Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...(1816–1861) 325.7 g 27.1 g BolognaBolognaBologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,... 326.8 g 27.2 g MilanMilanMilan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,... (–1815) 328.0 g 27.3 g ParmaParmaParma is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its ham, its cheese, its architecture and the fine countryside around it. This is the home of the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world.... 332.0 g 27.7 g SardiniaSardiniaSardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],... 334.5 g 27.9 g Duchy of LuccaDuchy of LuccaThe Duchy of Lucca was an Italian state existing from 1815 to 1847. It was centered on the city of Lucca.The Duchy was formed in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, out of the former Republic of Lucca and the Principality of Lucca and Piombino, which had been ruled by Elisa Bonaparte... (1815–1847) 339.2 g 28.3 g RomeRomeRome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half... 339.5 g 28.3 g FlorenceFlorenceFlorence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.... 339.5 g 28.3 g Grand Duchy of TuscanyGrand Duchy of TuscanyThe Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence...(–1859) 340.5 g 28.4 g Duchy of Modena(1814–1859) 344.2 g 28.7 g Kingdom of PortugalKingdom of PortugalThe Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910... 344.8 g345.1 g 28.7 g28.8 g Kingdom of Spain

Iberian Peninsula
On the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, apothecaries' weights in the 19th century were relatively uniform, with 24 grains per scruple (576 grains per ounce), the standard in Romance countries. The weight of an apothecaries' pound was 345.1 g in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

and 344.2 g in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. As in Italy, some of the additional subdivisions of the Roman system, such as the obolo, were still in use there. It was standard to use the marco, defined as 8 ounces, instead of the pound.

France
In 18th century France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, there was a national weight standard, the marc de Paris of 8 ounces. The civil pound of 16 ounces was equivalent to 2 marks, and it was also used as the apothecaries' pound. With 30.6 g, the ounces were considerably heavier than other apothecaries' ounces in Romance countries, but otherwise the French system was not remarkable. Its history and connections to the English and Flemish standards are discussed below under Weight standards named after Troyes.

Italy
Due in part to the political conditions in what would become a united Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

only in 1861, the variation of apothecaries' systems and standard weights in this region was enormous. (For background information, see History of Italy during foreign domination and the unification
History of Italy during foreign domination and the unification
The history of Italy in the Early Modern period was partially characterized by foreign domination:Following the Italian Wars , Italy saw a long period of relative peace, first under Habsburg Spain and then under Habsburg Austria . During the Napoleonic era, Italy was a client state of the French...

.) The libbra (pound) generally consisted of the standard twelve ounces, however.

The civil weight systems were generally very similar to the apothecaries' system, and since the libbra (or the libbra sottile, where different systems were in use for light and heavy goods) generally had a suitable weight for an apothecaries' pound it was often used for this purpose. Extreme cases were Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, where the same system was used for everything, including medicine. On the other hand there were relatively large differences even between two cities in the same state. E.g. Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

(in the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

) had an apothecaries' pound that was less than the local civil pound, and 4% lighter than the pound used in Rome.

The weight of an apothecaries' pound ranged generally between 300 g and 320 g, slightly less than that of a pound in the Roman Empire. An important exception to this rule is that the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia
Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia
The Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia was created at the Congress of Vienna, which recognised the House of Habsburg's rights to Lombardy and Venetia after the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed by Napoleon in 1805, had collapsed...

was under rule of the Habsburg monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

1814–1859 and therefore had the extremely large Habsburg apothecaries' pound of 420 g. (See below under Habsburg standard.) E.g. in the large city of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

the apothecaries' system based on a pound of 326.8 g was officially replaced by the metric system as early as 1803, because Milan was part of the Napoleonic Italian Republic
Italian Republic (Napoleonic)
The Italian Republic was a short-lived republic located in Northern Italy. It was a vassal state of the First French Republic of Napoleon.-The republic:...

. Since the successor of this little state, the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state founded in Northern Italy by Napoleon, fully influenced by revolutionary France, that ended with his defeat and fall.-Constitutional statutes:...

, fell to Habsburg in 1814 (at a time when even in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

the système usuel had been introduced because the metric system was not accepted by the population), an apothecaries' system was officially introduced again, but now based on the Habsburg apothecaries' pound, which weighed almost 30% more.
Sicilian variant
Libra Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Grana
1 Lb. 12 Unc. 120 Dr. 360 Scr. 7,200 Gr.
1 Unc. 10 Dr. 30 Scr. 600 Gr.
1 Dr. 3 Scr. 60 Gr.
1 Scr. 20 Gr.
360 g 30 g 3 g 1 g 50 mg

The apothecaries' pound in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

had exactly the same subdivisions as those in the non-Romance countries, but its total weight of 301 g was at the bottom of the range. During the Habsburg reign of 1814–1859 an exception was made for Venice; as a result the extreme weights of 301 g and 420 g coexisted within one state and in immediate proximity. The Venice standard was also used elsewhere, for example in Udine
Udine
Udine is a city and comune in northeastern Italy, in the middle of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic sea and the Alps , less than 40 km from the Slovenian border. Its population was 99,439 in 2009, and that of its urban area was 175,000.- History :Udine is the historical...

. In Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

(called "Ragusa" until 1909) its use was partially continued for a long time in spite of the official Habsburg weight reform.

The measure and weight systems for the large mainland part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

were unified in 1840. The area consisted of the southern half of the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

and included Naples and Salerno. The subdivision of apothecaries' weight in the unified system was essentially the same as that for gold, silver, coins and silk. It was the most excentric variant in that the ounce was divided in 10 drachms, rather than the usual 8. The scruple, like in Venice but unlike in the rest of the Romance region, was divided into 20 grains. The existence of a unit called aureo, the equivalent of 1½ dramme, is interesting because 6 aurei were 9 dramme. In the original Salerno weight system an ounce was divided into 9 drachms, and so an aureo would have been ⅙ of an ounce.

### Weight standards named after Troyes

Late French variant
Libra Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Grana
1 Lb. 16 Unc. 128 Dr. 384 Scr. 9,216 Gr.
1 Unc. 8 Dr. 24 Scr. 576 Gr.
1 Dr. 3 Scr. 72 Gr.
1 Scr. 24 Gr.
480 g 30 g 4 g 1.3 g 50 mg

As early as 1147 in Troyes
Troyes
Troyes is a commune and the capital of the Aube department in north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about southeast of Paris. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town...

in Champagne
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

(in the Middle Ages an important trading town) a unit of weight called marc de Troyes was used.

The national French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

standard until 1799 was based on a famous artefact called the Pile de Charlemagne, which probably dates back to the second half of the 15th century. It is an elaborate set of nesting weight pieces, with a total metric weight of 12.238 kg. The set is now shown in the Musée des Arts et Métiers
Musée des Arts et Métiers
The Musée des Arts et Métiers is a museum in Paris that houses the collection of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers , which was founded in 1794 as a repository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions.-History:Since its foundation, the museum has been housed in the...

in Paris. The total nominal value of the set is 50 marcs de Troyes or marcs de Paris, a mark being 8 ounces. The ounce poids de marc had therefore a metric equivalent of 30.59 g. The poids de marc was used as a national French standard for trading, for gold, silver and jewels, and for weighing medicine. It was also used in international communications between scientists. In the time before the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the civil pound also played the role of the apothecaries' pound in the French apothecaries' system, which otherwise remained a standard system of the Romance (24 grains per scruple) type.
 1 ounce Standard 12 ounces ? marc de Troyes (Troyes) ? 30.60 g poids de marc (Paris) 367 g 30.76 g trooisch pond (Flanders) 369 g 31.10 g troy pound (London) 373 g

In Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Antwerpen and other Flemish
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

cities, a "troy" unit ("trooisch pond") was also in use as a standard for valuable materials and medicine. As in France, the way in which the Flemish troy ounce was subdivided depended on what was weighed. Unlike the French, the Flemish apothecaries divided the scruple in 20 grains. The Flemish troy pound became the standard for the gold and apothecaries' system in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands is the unofficial name used to refer to Kingdom of the Netherlands during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empire and before the new kingdom of Belgium split out in 1830...

; it was also used in this way in Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

. (The London troy pound was referred to as the 'trooisch pond', after metrification.)

The Dutch troy mark consisted of 8 Flemish troy ounces, with each ounce of 20 engels, and each engel divided into 32 assen. The Amsterdam Pound of two marks, used in commerce, weighed 10,280 assen, while the Amsterdam Troy pound weighed 10,240 assen, i.e. exactly two troy marks.

In 1414, six years before the Treaty of Troyes
Treaty of Troyes
The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement that Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the throne of France upon the death of King Charles VI of France. It was signed in the French city of Troyes on 21 May 1420 in the aftermath of the Battle of Agincourt...

, a statute of Henry V of England
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

gave directions to the goldsmiths in terms of the troy pound. (In 1304 it had apparently not yet been introduced, since it did not appear in the statute of weights and measures.) There is evidence from the 15th century that the troy pound was used for weighing metals and spices. After the abolishment of the Tower pound in 1527 by Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, the troy pound was the official basis for English coin weights. The British apothecaries' system was based on the troy pound until metrication, and it survived in the United States and Australia well into the 20th century.

Since the modern (English, American and Imperial) troy ounces are roughly 1.5% heavier than the late Paris ounce, the exact historical relations between the original marc de Troyes, the French poids de marc, the Flemish trooisch pond and the English troy pound are unclear. It is known, however, that the numerical relation between the English and French troy ounces was exactly 64:63 in the 14th century.

### Nuremberg standard

 1 ounce Standard 1 pound 29.69 g Sweden 356.2 g 29.82 g Nuremberg 357.8 g 29.83 g LucerneCanton of LucerneLucerne is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population of the canton is . , the population included 57,268 foreigners, or about 15.8% of the total population. The cantonal capital is Lucerne.-History:... 358.0 g 29.86 g Russia 358.3 g 29.88 g Poland 358.5 g

In the Middle Ages the Imperial Free City of Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

, an important trading place in the south of Germany, produced large amounts of nesting weight pieces to various European standards. In the 1540s, the first pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

in the modern sense was also printed there. In 1555, a weight standard for the apothecaries' pound of 12 ounces was set in Nuremberg. Under the name Nuremberg pharmaceutical weight it would become the standard for most of the north-east of Europe. However, some cities kept local copies of the standard.

As of 1800 all German states and cities except Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

(which had the Dutch troy standard) followed the Nuremberg standard. It was also the standard for Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

and most cantons of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

had their own variants of the standard, which differed from each other by 0.6%.

In 1811, Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

legally defined the apothecaries' pound as 360.00 g (an ounce of 30.00 g). In 1815, Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

lost its status as a free city and became part of Bavaria. From now on the Nuremberg apothecaries' pound was no longer the official apothecaries' pound in Nuremberg; but the difference was only 0.6%. In 1836 the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

apothecaries' pound was officially defined by this standard, four years after Otto
Otto of Greece
Otto, Prince of Bavaria, then Othon, King of Greece was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the Great Powers .The second son of the philhellene King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Otto ascended...

, the son of the king of Bavaria, became the first king of Greece. But only few German states followed the example of Bavaria, and with a long delay. The apothecaries' pound of 360 g was also adopted in Lübeck, where it was official as of 1861.

Austria and the states of the Habsburg monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

officially had a different standard since 1761, and Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, followed by its neighbours Anhalt
Anhalt
Anhalt was a sovereign county in Germany, located between the Harz Mountains and the river Elbe in Middle Germany. It now forms part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.- Dukes of Anhalt :...

, Lippe
Lippe
Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-Lippe....

and Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

, would diverge in the opposite direction with a reform in 1816. But in both cases apothecaries continued to use the Nuremberg standard unofficially for a long time after it became illegal.

In Russia the apothecaries' system survived well into the 20th century. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

officially abolished it only in January 1927.

### Habsburg standard

Empress Maria Theresia of Austria reformed the measures and weights of the Habsburg monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

in 1761. The weight of an apothecaries' pound of 12 ounces was increased to a value that was later (after the kilogramme was defined) found to be 420.009 g; this was called the libra medicinalis major. It was defined as 3/4 of the unusually heavy Habsburg civil pound (defined as 6/5 of the civil pound of Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

) and corresponded to a record ounce weight of 35 g.

Before the reform, in the north of the empire the Nuremberg standard had been in effect, and in Italy the local standards had been even lighter. It is not surprising that an increase by 17% and more met with some inertia. The 1770 edition of the pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

Dispensatorium Austriaco-Viennense still used the Nuremberg standard libra medicinalis minor, indicating that even in the Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n capital Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

it took some time for the reform to become effective. In 1774, the Pharmacopoea Austriaco-provincialis used the new standard, and in 1783 all old apothecaries' weight pieces that were still in use were directed to be destroyed.

Venice was not part of these reforms and kept its standard of approximately 25 g per ounce.

When Austria started producing scales and weight pieces to the new standard with an excellent quality/price ratio, these were occasionally used by German apothecaries as well.

### Early metrication

 exact système usuel Libra 489.506 g 500.00 g Uncia 30.594 g 32.00 g 31.25 g Drachma 3.824 g 4.00 g 3.906 g Grana 0.053 g 50 mg 65.1 mg

At the time of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, the fact that each state had its own system of weights and measures became increasingly problematic. Serious work on a "scientific" system was started in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

under Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

, and completed in 1799 (after the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

) with its implementation. The French population, however, was initially unhappy with the new system. In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte reintroduced some of the old measures and weights, but in a modified form that was defined with respect to the metric system. This système usuel was finally abolished in 1837 and became illegal in 1840.

Due to the large expansion of the First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

under Napoleon I
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, French metrication also affected what would be (parts of) France's neighbour countries after the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

.

The Netherlands were partially metricated when they were French, in the years 1810–1813. With full metrication, effective January 1821, the Netherlands reformed the trooisch pond. The apothecaries' new pound was 375.00 g. Apart from rounding issues concerning the subdivisions, this corresponded exactly to the French système usuel. (The reform was not followed in the north German city of Lübeck, which continued to use the trooisch pond.) In Belgium, apothecaries' weight was metricized effective 1856.

Between 1803 and 1815 all German regions west of the River Rhine were French, organised in the départements Roer, Sarre, Rhin-et-Moselle
Rhin-et-Moselle
Rhin-et-Moselle is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Germany. It is named after the rivers Rhine and Moselle. It was formed in 1798, when the left bank of the Rhine was annexed by France. Until the French occupation, its territory was divided between the Archbishopric...

, and Mont-Tonnerre
Mont-Tonnerre
Mont-Tonnerre is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Germany. It is named after the highest point in the Rhenish Palatinate, the Donnersberg. It was the southernmost of four départements formed in 1798, when the west bank of the Rhine was annexed by France...

. As a result of the Congress of Vienna these became part of various German states. A large part of the Palatinate fell to Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, but having the metric system it was excepted from the Bavarian reform of weights and measures.

### Prussia's path to metrication

 1 ounce Standard 1 pound 29.82 g Nuremberg (initially) 357.8 g 29.23 g civil pound (from 1816) 350.8 g 31.25 g metric pound (from 1856) 375.0 g abolished metric pound (from 1867) abolished

In Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, a reform in 1816 defined the Prussian civil pound in terms of the Prussian foot and distilled water. It also redefined the apothecaries' pound as 12 ounces, i.e. 3/4, of the civil pound: 350.78 g. This reform was not popular with apothecaries, because it broke the uniformity of the apothecaries' pound in Germany at a time when a German national state was beginning to form. It seems that many apothecaries did not follow this reduction by 2%.

Another reform in 1856 increased the civil pound from 467.711 g to 500.000 g (the German civil pound defined by the Zollverein
Zollverein
thumb|upright=1.2|The German Zollverein 1834–1919blue = Prussia in 1834 grey= Included region until 1866yellow= Excluded after 1866red = Borders of the German Union of 1828 pink= Relevant others until 1834...

), as a first step towards metrication
Metrication
Metrication refers to the introduction and use of the SI metric system, the international standard for physical measurements. This has involved a long process of independent and systematic conversions of countries from various local systems of weights and measures. Metrication began in France in...

. As a consequence the official apothecaries' pound was now 375.000 g, i.e. it was increased by 7%, and it was now very close to the troy standards. §4 of the law that introduced this reform said: "Further, a pharmaceutical weight deviating from the civil weight does not take place." But this paragraph was suspended until further notice.

The abolishment of the apothecaries' system meant that doctors' prescriptions had to take place in terms of the current civil weight: grammes and kilograms. This was considered unfeasible by many, and the state received numerous protests and asked for expertises. Yet by 1868, §4 of the earlier reform was finally put into force.

### Metrication in countries using the troy and avoirdupois systems

Proposed avoirdupois-based apothecaries' system, Dublin 1850
Libra Uncia Drachma Scrupulum Grana
1 Lb. 16 Unc. 128 Dr. 384 Scr. 7,000.00 Gr.
1 Unc. 8 Dr. 24 Scr. 437.50 Gr.
1 Dr. 3 Scr. 54.68 Gr.
1 Scr. 18.22 Gr.
480 g 30 g 4 g 1.3 g 70 mg

Britain was initially involved in the development of the metric system, and the US was among the 17 initial signatories of the Metre Convention in 1875. Yet in spite of enthusiastic support for the new system by intellectuals such as Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, these two countries were particularly slow to implement it.

To unify all weight systems used by apothecaries, the Irish pharmacopœia of 1850 introduced a new variant of the apothecaries' system which subdivided a new apothecaries' pound of 12 avoirdupois ounces instead of the troy pound. To allow effective use of the new system, new weight pieces were produced. Since an avoirdupois ounce corresponds to 28.35 g, the proposed system was very similar to that in use in Portugal and Spain, and in some locations in Italy. But it would have doubled the value of the avoirdupois drachm (an existing unit, but by then only used for weighing silk). Therefore it conflicted with other non-standard variations that were based on that nearly obsolete unit.

The Irish proposal was not widely adopted, but British legislation, in the form of the Medicinals Act 1858, was more radical: It prescribed the use of the avoirdupois system for the United Kingdom (then including Ireland), with none of the traditional subdivisions. This innovation was first used in the united British pharmacopœia of 1864. In practice the old apothecaries' system based on the troy pound was still widely used, however, until it was abolished by the Weights and Measures Act of 1976. Since then it can only be used to measure precious metals and stones. (The troy pound was already declared illegal for most other uses by the Weights and Measures Act of 1878.)

In the US, the metric system replaced the apothecaries' system in the US Pharmacopoeia of 1971.