minot [French]


In Canada, 17ᵗʰ – 20ᵗʰ centuries¹, a unit of capacity, approximately 39.025 liters (about 1.07 imperial bushels or about 1.1 U.S. bushels).

In Quebec, a law of 1676 adopted the comme minot, demi-minot, boisseau, pot and pinte; and the act of 1799 adopting English measures specifically retained the poisson, pot, half minot and minot.² In neither law were actual capacities specified.

Doursther (1840) says “Au Canada...l'on estime que 90 minots égalent 100 bushels de Winchester.”³ This works out to a minot of 39.154 liters, which would be 1.08 imperial bushels. Nelkenbrecher reports the Parisian value 39.025 liters, which agrees with the “1.07 imperial bushels” part of the UN's report.

1. United Nations 1966.

The UN report says the Canadian minot is “38.91 hl” liters or “1.07 imperial bushels”. The two figures are incompatible, even if one assumes "hl" was typed where "l" was meant, since 38.91 L would round off to 1.08 imperial bushels. We conclude that the value “38.91 hl” in the UN report is a clerical error, perhaps for 39.1. Still, the entry is evidence that the unit was in use in the 20ᵗʰ century, since the Canadian government reported it to the UN.

2. Lester A. Ross.
Archeological Metrology: English, French, American and Canadian Systems of Weights and Measures for North American Historical Archaeology.
History and Archaeology No. 68.
Ottawa, Ont. : National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada, Environment Canada, 1983.

Pages 96-97.

3. Doursther page 283.


In France, a unit of capacity = ½ mine. By an act of 1670 it was set at about 39.025 liters, but even in one locality (Paris) it varied by commodity link to a chart showing relationships between French units of capacity for wheat :

In the Système Usuel the minot was 37.5 liters.

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