NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY (C) CROWN COPYRIGHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY (C) CROWN COPYRIGHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Evolution of the yardstick. The oldest yardstick is at bottom, becoming more modern towards the top. Henry VII (1485-1509) and Elizabeth I (1533- 1603) both had brass rod yards produced as a standard measure. The Elizabeth yard was slightly longer and closer to 36 inches (91.4 centimetres) than the Henry yard, so it was accepted as more accurate. The Elizabeth yard remained in use until 1824, when the Imperial Measures Act arrived and introduced the Imperial yard, an even more accurate standard. It was found, however, that the metre, first adopted by the French in 1793, could be broken down into smaller units more easily due to its decimal origin. By 1889, the metre was widely used as an international standard.
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