Mass [German]

For the East Asian unit, see mace.

In German, one set of meanings of the word “Mass” (or “Maß”) is measure, size, dimension, volume, extent, standard. It is also the name of various units. An earlier spelling is Maass.


In Germany, ? – 19ᵗʰ century, various units of liquid capacity in the range from 0.5 to 2 liters. Many localities had both an old and new Mass.

Examples: Hamburg, Germany, 1820 opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system.


In Austria, ? – 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of liquid capacity, = 4 Seidel. Also called a Kanne. Article 4 of the law¹ establishing the metric system in Austria specified that the Wiener Mass was equivalent to 1.414724 liters (about 1.5 U.S. liquid quarts). A later commercial source² says about 1.415015 liters.

1. Gesetz of 23 July 1871, R.G.B 1872, No. 16. The law is reproduced in
Georg Thaa.
Das Mass- und Gewichtwesen und der Richdienst in Österreich.
Volume 13 of Taschenausgabe de österreichischen Gesetze.
Vienna: Munz'sche k. u. k. Hof- Verlags- und Universitats-Buchhandlung, 1900.

2. Nelkenbrecher (1890), page 861.


In Switzerland, ? – 19th century, a unit of liquid capacity, equal to the volume occupied by 3 Pfund of distilled water at its maximum density, 1.5 liters (about 1.36 U.S. liquid quarts). In French the unit was called a pot. 1 Mass = 4 Viertelmass or Schoppen. 100 Mass = 1 Saum or Ohm.

Nelkenbrecher (1890), page 761.

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