Feet per Mile
Date: 12/08/98 at 07:55:17 From: Dana Subject: Miles Hi, If I find out the answer to who decided that 5,280 ft will be in a mile, I'll get extra credit. I just want to know where the measurement for a mile came from. Thanks, Dana
Date: 12/08/98 at 10:44:40 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Miles Hi, Dana. A good source for lots of confusing facts about "English" measures is this Web site, by Jack Proot: http://members.aol.com/JackProot/met/spvolas.html Here is what it says about the mile and related units: Remarks: in Old England, the mile - derived from the Roman "mille passus" or 1000 double steps - was originally 5000 feet long as in the Roman definition (1 "passus" = 5 feet). Later, it took 5280 feet to accommodate exactly 8 furlongs, the most popular measure of the time. Actually, the usual happened: the foot and the rod went slowly their separate ways, being used by different industries (the weaver and the farmer ....) Things had to be straightened up and, as the foot and the rod were already entrenched, we find these strange figures: 16.5 ft/rod and 5280 ft/mile. This was voted by the House under Queen Elizabeth I in 1595. It should be noted that the furlong comes from the Greek and Roman stadion, which they themselves inherited from more ancient times. It seems to be the optimal length for the traditional plough. The rod was determined by lining up 16 men (after the Sunday Service, the story goes) and measuring the combined length of all their left feet. These 16 feet make up 16.5 "feet." Thickness of the shoes? Gaps between feet? This is tradition .... - Doctor Rick, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.