In France, a pre-metric unit of liquid capacity used in gauging the size and content of barrels, for example. opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its systemVelte” is also the name of the stick used in gauging.

Doursther describes the origin of the term:

Mesure de capacitè pour liquides, qui tire son nom de l'instrument de jauge employé autrefois en France, et sur lequel était marquée cette mesure. Ce bâton de jauge s'appelait, selon les lieux, velte, verge, verle, verte, etc.; s'était une règle de fer ou de bois, graduée de manière qu'en la faisant entrer obliquement par le bondon de la pièce a jauger, et l'appuyant sur le bas de la circonférence de l'un des fonds, elle marquait le nombre de mesures que la futaille contenait, selon que la règle se trouvait plus ou moins plongée dans la liqueur. Ces mesures portaient le même nom que l'instrument; ainsi, si la velte marquait 32, le tonneau contenait 32 veltes.

Measure of capacity for liquids, that takes its name from a gauging instrument formerly used in France, which was marked with this unit. This gauging stick – called, depending on the locale, velte, verge, verle, verte, etc. – was a rule made of iron or wood, graduated in such a way that when it was inserted obliquely through the bunghole of the cask to be gauged, and pushed to the bottom of the circumference of one of barrel ends, it indicated the number of measures that the cask contained, depending on whether the rule was more or less submerged in liquid. These measures carried the same name as the instrument; thus, if the velte indicated 32, the barrel contained 32 veltes.

Commercially, in the wine trade the velte was often considered equivalent to 2 English wine gallons. (Doursther, 1840, page 570)

Locality Equivalents and comments Capacity in liters
Anvers, Bayonne, Cognac   7.61
Bordeaux, Marseille = ¹⁄₃₀th barrique 7.54
counted as (Note that this is exactly 10
of today's international standard for wine bottles)
Paris velte or setier, = 8 pintes 7.609649
= 8 pintes 7.450542
Nantes = ¹⁄₄₀th barrique 6
La Rochelle. Oleron   7.61
also counted as 7.5
Montpellier for eau-de-vie, = ¹⁄₅ quintal 7.61
Cette for eau-de-vie, 20 livre of Montpellier 7.61


In Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of liquid capacity, = 2 English wine gallons = 5 canades or canadas = 10 quarts = 150 drams = 462 cubic inches, about 7.57 liters. Also called a welt.


In Mauritius and in the Seychelles, 20ᵗʰ century, a unit of capacity, the colonial velte or velt, 7.4505 liters. (UN 1966) It is ¹⁄₃₀th of a cask.

According to Nelkenbrecher (1890, page 617), in Mauritius 3 veltes were reckoned as 5 imperial gallons. One velte of wine, however, was considered equivalent to 2 English wine gallons.


The velt is equal to 1 gallon 7 pints 4-5ths English, but is always taken as 2 gallons in commercial transactions; it is by the velt that every liquid is measured here [in Mauritius]. 3 gills make 1 pint, 2 pints 1 quart, 4 quarts 1 gallon, 2 gallons 1 velt. Nine English quart bottles are generally considered equal to a velt, and 40 drams to 1 gallon. A cask measures 30 velts.

Robert Montgomery Martin.
History of the Colonies of the British Empire in the West Indies, South America, North America, Asia...
London: W. H. Allen & Co. and George Routledge, 1843.
Page 515.


In France, early 19th century, the dekaliter was sometimes called a velte.

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