In the United States, the word “carload” has often been used as an informal indication of quantity. The car referred to is a railroad freight car.
An 1883 source says:
“As a general rule the following quantities constitute a car load throughout Canada and the United States, viz.,” [data converted to a table for ease of reading]
|salt||20,000 pounds, or 70 barrels|
|flour||70 barrels, or 200 sacks|
|hard wood||6 cords|
|soft wood||7 cords|
|cattle||18 to 20 head|
|hogs||50 to 60 head|
|sheep||80 to 100 head|
|solid boards||9000 feet [presumably board-feet]|
|shingles||40,000 [board feet?]|
|“hard lumber”||20,000 [board feet?]|
|green lumber||30,000 [board feet?]|
and all other
|36,000 [board feet?]|
|Irish potatoes||430 bushels|
|sweet potatoes||356 bushels|
1. The Grocer's Companion and Merchant's Hand-Book.
Boston: New England Grocer, 1883.
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Last revised: 17 June 2002.