British India
units of mass

Keep in mind that in the same periods in which these systems of units were in use in official dealings, other maunds were in use elsewhere.

Indian Standard Weight, by Regulation VII, 1833

photograph of 1835 rupee coin

This system of weights was based on the bazaar weights (see below). As in that system, the base weight was the tola, which was the weight of a 1-rupee coin. In 1829 the British government ordered the weight of the silver rupees of western India and Madras to be standardized at 180 troy grains. Changing the weight of this coin to exactly 180 troy grains made the mun exactly 100 Troy pounds, and 35 seers = 72 pounds avoirdupois. Thus Indian weights were exactly convertible to the two British systems of weight.

The difference between Indian Standard Weight and the old bazaar weight was slight. One hundred tolas in Indian Standard Weight equaled 100.185 tolas in bazaar weight. No penalty was inflicted for continued use of the old system in the marketplace.

Names with yellow backgrounds are those of gold weights.

     

British maund, or mun

pusseree

8

     

seer

5

40

   

chittack

16

80

640

 

tola

5

80

400

3200

 

masha

12

60

960

4800

38,400

ruttee

8

96

480

7680

38,400

307,200

dhan

4

32

384

1920

30,720

153,600

1,228,800

troy weight

0.469
grains

1.87
grains

15
grains

180
grains

18¾
troy oz.


troy lbs

12½
troy lbs

100
troy lbs

avoirdupois weight

0.469
grains

1.87
grains

15
grains

180
grains

2.057
av oz

2.057
av lbs

10.29
av lbs

82 2/7
av lbs

metric

30.4
mg

121
mg

972
mg

11.664
g

58.320
g

933.104
g

4.666
kg

37.324
kg

Bazaar Weight

The basic unit, the weight of the tola, was the Moorshedabad rupee, weighing 179.666 grains. Also called sicca weight. Intended to be 10% heavier than factory weight.

Units in yellow were primarily used for gold and silver.

     

bazaar maund

pusseree

8

     

seer

5

40

   

chittack

16

80

640

 

tola

5

80

400

3200

 

masha

12

60

960

4800

38,400

ruttee

8

96

480

7680

38,400

307,200

dhan

4

32

384

1920

30,720

153,600

1,228,800

troy weight

0.468
grains

1.87
grains

14.97
grains

179.666
grains

1.872
troy oz.

2.495
troy lbs

12.477
troy lbs

99.814
troy lbs

avoirdupois weight

0.468
grains

1.87
grains

14.97
grains

179.666
grains

2.053
av oz

2.053
av lbs

10.267
av lbs

82.133
av lbs

metric

30.3
mg

121
mg

970
mg

11.64
g

58.21
g

933.105
g

4.657
kg

37.255
kg

         

Bazaar maund

discrepancy between

theory

     

82 2/15 av lb
37.255 kg

practice

     

82 1/8 av lb
37.251 kg

         

37.24

Factory Weight

A system of weights adopted by the English factory in Bengal, according to Prinsep, probably in 1787. (A factory in this sense is a trading post, not a manufacturing plant.) Its purpose was to simplify trade in Indian products being shipped to Britain. It appears to be based on 3 factory maunds to 2 avoirdupois hundredweights (224 pounds).

     

factory maund

pusseree

8

     

seer

5

40

   

chittack

16

80

640

 

tola

5

80

400

3200

 

masha

12

60

960

4800

38,400

ruttee

8

96

480

7680

38,400

307,200

dhan

4

32

384

1920

30,720

153,600

1,228,800

troy weight

0.425
grains

1.70
grains

13.61
grains

163.333
grains

1.701
troy oz.

2.268
troy lbs

11.343
troy lbs

90.740
troy lbs

avoirdupois weight

0.425
grains

1.70
grains

13.61
grains

163.333
grains

1.867
av oz

1.867
av lbs

9.333
av lbs

74.666
av lbs

metric

27.6
mg

110
mg

882
mg

10.584
g

52.919
g

846.703
g

4.233
kg

33.868
kg

The Presidency of Madras

Before Indian Standard Weight was promulgated, the maund of Madras had already been legally equated with a British value.

candy

maund

20

visay or vis

8

160

seer

5

40

800

pollam

8

40

320

6400

varahun or pagoda

10

80

400

3200

64000

avoirdupois

0.125
oz

1.25
oz

10
oz

3 1/8
lbs

25
lbs

500
lbs

metric

3.54
g

35.437
g

283.495
g

1.417
kg

11.339
kg

226.796
kg

previous, in avoir

a

4220
grains

24.114
lb

Also used in Madras were the weights of Malabar:

tolam

seer

40

fannam or pollam

100

varahun or pagoda

10

80

3200

avoirdupois

0.125
oz

1.25
oz

10
oz

23.192
lbs

metric

3.54
g

35.437
g

283.495
g

11.339
kg

The Presidency of Bombay

Before Indian Standard Weight was promulgated, the maund of Bombay had already been legally equated with a British value.

maund

seer

40

pice

30

1200

tank

2.4

72

2880

68.06
grains

172.8
gr

11.2
oz

28
lbs

4.41
g

10.58
g

317.51
g

12.70
kg

sources

A moment's inspection of the Calcutta price-current will be sufficient to prove the great inconvenience which the retention of the two-fold system [bazaar and factory weight] must cause. Some articles are quoted at “sicca rupees per bazar maund,” other at “sicca rupees per factory maund,” and others again at “current rupees per factory maund,” the current rupee being an imaginary money, of which 116 are assumed to equal 100 siccas!

To increase the perplexity, the same article is often estimated in a different scale as it comes from different places; thus, Radnagore and Bauleah silk are sold per bazar seer: while Kasimbazar and Gonatea silk, per factory seer. Tin, iron, verdigris, Japan and English copper per “sicca rupees and factory maund:” — steel, zinc, lead, mercury, and South American copper, per current rupees and factory maund! — Gum Benjamin is sold by factory, all other gums by bazar weight :- stick lac by the former, but shell lac and lac dye by the latter!

Many more examples might be furnished of similar inconsistency. Saltpetre, indigo, silk, the produce of the Straits, and metals are the principal articles sold by the factory maund; while grain, sugar, cotton, most articles of food, and all of retail bazar consumption, are sold by the bazar weight.

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

X

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