The Math Forum

Ask Dr. Math - Questions and Answers from our Archives
Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math

Historical Dozen

Date: 03/19/2002 at 23:29:14
From: Vance Wallace
Subject: Why do we ship products in quantities of 12

I have searched the Internet and can not find out why shipping in 12s 
is so common (a case of 12s = 144 is very common). If you could find 
the history of this practice, I would be very thankful for your help.

Date: 03/20/2002 at 07:56:56
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Why do we ship products in quantities of 12

Hi Vance - thanks for writing to Dr. Math.

This information about the history of "dozen," from Russ Rowlett's 
_How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement_, may provide a clue:   

dozen (doz or dz)
a familiar unit of quantity equal to 12. Division into units of 12 
rather than 10 has the advantage that 12 can be evenly divided into 
halves, thirds, or quarters. For this reason, units of 12 have been 
common since the earliest civilizations of the Middle East. "Dozen" 
comes from an old French word dozaine related to the Latin word 
duodecem, "twelve."

- Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

Search the Dr. Math Library:

Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):
Click only once for faster results:

[ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.]

all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase
parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search

Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.