I would like to ask a question about an abbreviation about for weighing silk and goatswool in a commercial manuscript. The abbreviation using like on the photos. Can you please help me what is the meaning of these abbreviations. Any suggestions are welcome.

Scan showing cwt,qr,lb

Scan showing cwt,qr,lb

  • 1
    I'm guessing that by "abb" you mean abbreviation, but what is a "mansc"? If you want a clear answer, please don't write your question in code.
    – mikeagg
    Aug 28, 2015 at 15:33
  • @StoneyB - Following your comment I reworded my (deleted) comment as follow: I could only decypher the word "brute" that refers to a gross weight. Some samples are extracted from the bale, heated and weighted after deshydration. Then, the "absolute" weight is deduced from the bale brute weight according to deshydration results.
    – Graffito
    Aug 28, 2015 at 18:19
  • @Graffito NMF; but it appears from this that a standard 11% moisture is added back to dry weight -- or was at the turn of the 20th century. Aug 28, 2015 at 18:33
  • @StoneyB - Yes, these 11% are mentionned in a French decree dated April 5th 1805 (precisely "23 germinal an XIII").
    – Graffito
    Aug 28, 2015 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


I think these are 'cwt', 'qr' and 'lb', representing 'hundredweight' (112 pounds), 'quarter[-hundredweight]' (28 pounds) and 'pound' in the avoirdupois system.

Here is a table from T.H.Babcock, *The Practical Arithmetic ... *, 1829:

enter image description here

'Brute' is what we would today call 'gross' weight.

  • +1, but I'm curious why a "quarter" is 28 pounds and a "hundred weight" is 112 pounds (not 100). Is it only so that the metric system will have something to laugh about?
    – Robusto
    Aug 28, 2015 at 16:08
  • @Robusto It's a very long and complicated history which in England alone involved continual adjustments between various standards - Tower weight, troy weight, avoirdupois weight - which themselves fluctuated over time. It's even more complicated when the "standards" of other nations are brought into play. I urge you to stifle your curiosity, or you may go mad. Aug 28, 2015 at 16:18
  • I'm afraid it's too late.
    – Robusto
    Aug 28, 2015 at 16:30
  • @Robusto Oh, dear. Well, you can start with the Wikipedia articles on avoirdupois and troy, and move on to its discussions of pound, mark, shilling, penny, grain. If you're still standing after that you can mess around with continental and classic measures, too. And then you'll want to get into some of the archaeological studies. ... Been nice knowin ya. Aug 28, 2015 at 16:43
  • 1
    @Robusto The Short hundredweight was 100lb used mainly in US and Canada. The Imperial or Long hundredweight was 8stones (1st = 14lbs)
    – Joe Dark
    Aug 28, 2015 at 17:46

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