In the United Kingdom and its empire, a unit of liquid capacity, identified with the capacity of the typical glass bottle for wine and spirits. After the establishment of imperial measure in 1824 it was = ¹⁄₆ imperial gallon = ²⁄₃ imperial quart = 26²⁄₃ imperial fluid ounces, about 757.7 milliliters. (The imperial quart was much larger, about 1.1365 mL.) Sometimes called a whiskey quart. There was also a reputed pint = ¹⁄₁₂ imperial gallon, 13¹⁄₃ imperial fluid ounces.
The reputed quart was already a standard in the late 17th century, long before imperial measure, and researchers have suggested that it was then a quarter of the wine gallon defined as the volume occupied by 8 troy pounds of wine. A statute of 1803 says 5 bottles of wine make roughly 1 wine gallon (the wine gallon legalized by Queen Anne, 231 cubic inches, which is the U.S. liquid gallon). Before metrication, in the United States bottles of whiskey and other spirits contained ⁴⁄₅ quart, or ¹⁄₅ U.S. gallon (or about 757.08 mL), and were colloquially referred to as “fifths.”
B. E. Moody.
The origin of the “reputed quart” and other measures.
Glass Technology, volume 1, number 2, pages 55-68 (April 1960).
Refreshment Houses and Wine Licenses Bill.—Committee.
Colonel SYKES said, he objected to the use of the words “reputed quart bottle.” They ought to adopt a legal measure, if any at all.
Mr. EDWIN JAMES said, it was a mistake to suppose that a reputed quart was not a defined and ascertained measure. It was already provided by an Act of 11 and 12 Vict. that a reputed quart should be one-sixth of a gallon.
Mr. W. WILLIAMS said, he could corroborate the statement as to the limited capacity of “reputed” measures. A reputed quart had been declared to be one-sixth of a gallon; but any hon. Member who might wish to try the experiment in the refreshment-room would find, he thought, that it would take three reputed pints to make one quart bottle.
Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. Third Series Commencing with the Accession of William IV. 23 Victoræ, 1860.
Vol. CLVIII. Third Volume of the Session.
London: Cornelius Buck, 1860.
Columns 1044 and 1045.
The One Wine Company (Limited) say that an Imperial Pint bottle is bound by law to hold ⅛th part of a gallon.
And that an Imperial Quart bottle is bound by law to hold one-fourth part of a gallon.
The One Wine Company (Limited) say that reputed Pint and Quart Wine bottles are not subject to any law, but all made to hold any measure from 6 to 8 to the gallon, according to the will of the Wine Merchant.
The One Wine Company (Limited) say that the reputed Quart bottle is generally understood to measure 6 to the gallon.
The One Wine Company (Limited) sell the CHEAPEST WINE of FRANCE.
A good, sound, rich, full, nutritious Claret (choice Vin Ordinaire).
Imperial Pints, 9s. per doz., or 9d. per bottle; Imperial Quarts, 18s. per doz., or 1s. 6d. per bottle.
The same Wine in reputed measure.
Reputed Pints, 7s. per doz., 7d. per bottle; Reputed Quarts, 12s per doz., or 1s. per bottle.
No charge for bottles, but 1s. per doz. allowed for bottles returned.
The One Wine Company (Limited) sell the CHOICEST WINE of FRANCE.
Chateau Lafitte, first growth, 1864 vintage, bottled in 1867.
Imperial Pints, 63s. per doz., or 5s. 3d. per bottle; Reputed Quarts, 84s. per doz., or 7s. per bottle.
Lancet, 1867 volume 2.
Issue of Dec. 21, 1867. From an advertisement. Page not numbered, two pages before page 759.
Mr. George Jay to the President of the Board of Trade.
Norwich, September 15, 1869.
I beg to suggest that it would be a great public benefit for the Government to fix the size of the ordinary pint and quart bottles used for wine, spirits, ale, and porter, each bottle to be marked with the quantity it should hold.
The pint bottle now in use for ale contains a little more than a common glass. The wine bottles are less by two or three wine glasses than they were thirty years since, and are getting smaller every year. …
Remarks by the Warden of the Standards
Amongst the new standards recommended to be legalized by the Commission in their First Report, are standard measures of capacity of ¹⁄₆ and ¹⁄₁₂ gallon, as measures of the wine bottle and half wine bottle. The legal establishment of such standard measure must be the first step towards securing uniformity and just measure in the bottles in which wine, spirits, and malt liquors are commonly sold. The construction and verification of such standards, which should precede their legalization, will be proceeded with as soon as the re-verification of the existing standard measures of capacity, particularly the gallon, now in progress, shall have been completed.
The ordinary wine bottle, and half bottle are known as reputed quarts and pints, and are generally considered to hold ¹⁄₆ and ¹⁄₁₂ gallon respectively. Some tradesmen guarantee this quantity, although, as Mr. Jay states, such bottles are much more frequently found to hold less. It has also become a practice with many tradesmen to sell wine, &c. in imperial quart and pint, and even half pint bottles.
Fourth Report of the Commisioners appointed to enquire into the Condition of the Exchequer (Now Board of Trade) Standards. With Appendix. On the Inspection of weights and measures, &c.
London: Eyre and Spottiswoode for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1870.
Appendix VI. Page 294
Kerosene (per reputed qt. bottle) — — 7 [pence]
The Party, issue 10, 1961, page
2. Accra, Ghana.
From an official government schedule of price controls.
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