tank

1

In India (Bengal), ? – 20th centuries, a unit of mass used for pearls, precious stones and metals, today approximately 4.4 grams. (UN 1966)

19th century

tank

ruttee

24

quarter

4

96

tucka

3.44

13¾

330

anna

1.6

4

16

384

12.14
mg

19.42
mg

48.54
mg

194.17
mg

4.66
grams

2

In India (Bombay), 19th century, a unit of mass = 1/72 of a seer. In Bombay, 4.4 grams; in Darwar, 3.24 grams; in Poona, 12.42 grams. Earlier sources report both higher and lower values. One says that in Bombay (present-day Mumbai), the tank was 17 1/72 grains (about 1.1 grams). 

Prinsep (page 72) says “The seer at Bombay is divided into 30 pice or 72 tanks, of 72 troy grains each.” The subdivision is correct but the value is suspect. Were this so, the seer would be 5184 grains, and the maund of 40 seers, 207,360 grains, or 29.62 pounds av. But the Bombay maund by this time was 28 pounds av. Subdividing the 28-pound maund gives for the tank (28 × 7000, divided by 72 × 40 =) about 68.06 grains, about 4.41 grams. The 72-grain tank is a pearl weight.

Another author1 offers the following data:

Pearl weights in Bombay

tola

tank

4

waal

8

32

ruttee

3

24

96

vassa

20

60

480

1920

1.951 gr

5.853 gr

1 dwt, 22.824 gr

7 dwt, 19.296 gr

126.4 mg

379.3 mg

3.034 g

12.137 g

Bruno Kirsch reports that in the 16th century, the tank was 20.96 grams.

1. John Clunes.
Itinerary and Directory for Western India, being
Calcutta: H. Townsend, 1826.

The information is from the Appendix, which has the imprint American Mission Press, Bombay. We encountered Clunes as a selection printed in

Robert Montgomery Martin.
History of the Colonies of the British Empireā€¦
London: Wm. H. Allen and Co. and George Routledge, 1843.
Page 143, Appendix IV.

It must be mentioned that the reprinted passages in Martin's book are often full of errors.

3

In India, a unit of dry capacity in the province of Aurengabad. When the seer is taken as a measure of capacity (see the quotation below), the tank is 1/72nd of it. Doursther lists values ranging from 17.1 to 14.5 grams.

 

sources

India does not, properly speaking, possess dry or liquid measures. Where these are employed, they depend upon, and in fact represent, the seer or maund weight; the mention of measures has been accordingly omitted in the foregoing scheme for Bengal, leaving the value of an vessel of capacity to rest solely on the weight contained in it.

The mode in which this is effected for the “dry measures” of South and West India is, by taking an equal mixture of the principal grains, and forming a vessel to hold a given weight thereof, so as to obtain an average measure.  Sometimes salt is included among the ingredients*. Trichinopoly is the only place where grain is said never to be sold by weight. The mercal and parah are the commonest measures; the latter is known throughout India; in Calcutta it is called ferrah, and is used in measuring lime, &c. which is still recorded however in mds. wt. [maunds weight]

*In Belary this is called the nou-danium measurement; from the nine sorts of grain used: rice, wheat, coolty, pasaloo, mernoomooloo, oil seeds, Bengal grain, aunoomooloo, and nooloo. In Darwar, they take: wheat, toor, hurburr, roolthee, moony, oored, juwaree, paddy, and mudkee.— Kelly's Metrology.

[James Prinsep.]
Useful Tables, forming and Appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society. Part the First. Coins, Weights, and Measures of British India.
Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1834.

Doursther (1840), page 514.

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