Measurement & Abbreviations

My complete appendix is far too long to put on a webpage and can be downloaded from the primary sources page. Here are some of the most common abbreviations and measurements you might find useful when poking through handwritten documents.

Grain gr. – 65 mg
Scruple. ℈ 20 grains (1.3 g)
Dram ʒ or ʓ (3.89 g) one-half dram is 🝲 or ʒss
Ounce. ℥ (31.1 g.) one- half ounce is 🝳 or ℥ss (15.55 g.)
Fluid Ounce – fl ℥ or f℥ (33 mL)
Pound li or lb troy pound is 12 oz or 373 g
Pennyweight (dwt, d)- 24 grains (1.56 g.)
Handfull. M. (one-half cup)
Pints and Gallons varied regionally so I just use modern equivalents
Dry gallon was a unit of mass used to measure grains (around 8lbs)

To determine what was meant by terms such as a much as the size of a nutmeg, I weighed ten of each on my still room scale and averaged their weights.

  • Egg – 57 g (2 ounces)
  • Walnut – 20 g
  • Nutmeg – 5 g
  • Hazelnut – 3g
  • Beane – 1 g – Yes, I used a fava bean

Other Abbreviations You Might See

Þ – thorn (th) handwritten looks like a “y” so ye is the and yn is then
ʃ– long S
ß -Sharp S looks like “B” but is double ss which means “semi” or one half
&c – Et. cetera
Do – Ditto mark
£ – Pound sign
Hour – °
Of each one – ana.
Twice daily – bie in die b.i.d
Three times daily- ter in die, t.i.d
Rx, Rx, RX, or ℞, – receipt

Old Scottish Measurements per The Scots Kitchen 1929
4 gills – 1 mutchkin – one-half cup
2 mutchkins – 1 choppin – 1 cup
2 choppins – 1 pint – 2 cups
2 pint – 1 quart
4 quarts – 1 gallon
8 gallons – 1 barrel
1 lippie – 1 peck
1 firlot – 1 bushel






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