Hello from Austin, Texas (but grandmother from Sussex so I squeak in under the wire,,,)

burnesingman

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Feb 11, 2024
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God Bless the King! OK, got my Yank credentials out of the way to be on this UK Forum. I am getting back into large format after getting frustrated 15 yrs. ago and giving it up. I had a 4x5 Tachihara which was beautiful to look at but my ignorance got in the way of learning and enjoying it. I just got a Chiminoix 45 N2 and am older and wiser and hopefully more patient. Love this Forum and am anticipating asking many dumb questions so be ready and steel your patience for them, Honor to be here!
 
Ex-colonials are very welcome here, so a warm welcome to you. There are no dumb questions, particularly in LF.
 
Hello.
There loads of dumb questions in LF and I'm still working on my non exhaustive list.

The good news is, if you can't get an answer here, there probably isn't one.
 
Just remember - it’s aluminIUM, and we have the utmost difficulty working in cups and quarts.
 
I sometimes wonder why we don't say aluminium in the US. After all -ium is a common ending for the names of metals, think magnesium, beryllium, titanium and vanadium for example. Of course there are exceptions like iron and copper, metals that were recognized a really really long time ago.

But then there's platinum and tantalum. Do you say platinium and tantalium?

David
 
The US’s spelling simplification has always seemed to me to be a rather ramshackle affair. As you say, sodium remains sodium and condominium (a long and tricky word) stays the same. Why victimise an innocent metal discovered by a Swede? A more logical reform might spell centre as senter and if we must have sulfur, why retain Philadelphia? (Or even photography?) Specter but not gost? It’s hard to believe that a nation that copes with eight tablespoons to the stick would have trouble with centre.The USA is an independent entity, so it is free to do this, of course.
My one real peeve is changing metre and litre to the -er ending. These are international units and not the property of any nation, so international uniformity would seem to be more sensible.

Writing this has been a battle against my spell-checker
 
It’s a very curious situation. One might have supposed that Imperial units would have crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower.
A few years ago, there were two versions of the billion - a million-million and a thousand-million. Naturally, this caused suffering and desolation among the hyper-rich. It was probably inconvenient for astronomers too. We standardised on the US version of a thousand million. I’m not having a dig at the US, but a making a plea for internationalism.
 
For film processing purposes we can't be trusted on gallons or fluid ounces either.
I use what works best for me under the circumstances. In darkroom work it's the metric system which I learned many years ago. So per Kodak's Professional Data Book J-1 Processing Chemicals and Formulas, to make D-23 I weigh out 15 grams of metol and 200 grams of sodium sulfite to make a final volume of 2 liters. If I wanted to work in avoirdupois (Kodak uses that term), to make a quart I'd need to weigh out 3 ounces plus 145 grains of sulfite. Not sure how readily available are scales reading out in grains of which there are 437.5 per ounce. (Metol is simply 1/4 ounce; Kodak of course calls for Kodak Elon developing agent).

Likewise I make hypo clear from scratch using metric units. Now plain hypo for my prints is a sort of hybrid because I get sodium thiosulfate in one pound jars. So doing the arithmetic it's one pound pentahydrated sodium thiosulfate, 56.7 grams sodium sulfite and water to make about 1.89 liters.

On the other hand in my home machine shop I use inches and decimal parts thereof. My machine tool dials are graduated in .001 inch increments. If metric dimensions are needed, it's easy enough to find the inch equivalent with a hand calculator. And I do have the change gears to cut metric threads on my lathe if needed.

From time-to-time one sees the assertion that the United States is one of the few countries in the world that "doesn't use the metric system." That's simply not true, we just don't use it exclusively. Ardent spirits and wine comes in 750 mL, 1 liter or 1.5 liter containers. (Why is that the first example that comes to mind?)

And I understand there in the UK speed limits are still in miles per hour...

David
 
Yes we still do speeds and distances in miles. I presume this was to avoid the expense of replacing so many road signs - typical government penny pinching.
Draught beer is still served in pints and half pints. These are real Imperial pints of course. There was a strong movement to retain this traditional measure. It’s all packaged metrically of course and spirits is all,metric, as is wine. (I did like to see your “ardent spirits” - a step back to my teetotal upbringing).
An irrelevant footnote to this is that one of the proclaimed benefits of Brexit is that it will be legal to sell champagne (a product of Europe) in pints. So far it seems to be the only one.*
I’ve just checked in the fridge. Milk seems to be sold in both pints (with the metric equivalent marked) and in litres. We have bees, and sell honey nominally in ounces, but the jars must carry the metric weight, in a regulated type size, with Imperial measures written smaller and having no legal significance.
Even when we used Imperial measures regularly, we weighed ingredients when cooking. The cup system remains baffling. Two different measures for the same quantity of flour? I can’t be beyond the wit of American engineers to devise some kind of apparatus to weigh things.
So, in short, we share a mixed approach to dimensions. Many younger people in the UK are now baffled by Imperial measurements and, of course, by pounds, shillings and pence.
* I was wrong. Our passports are a different colour now.
 
And we also have some strange measurements for area, David. If something is quite big we say it's the size of an Olympic swimming pool - whether it actually is or not. And if something is absolutely huge we say it's as big as Wales...

And you may not believe me but I once caught a pike that was as long as a double decker bus...well, nearly. And when it tried to bite me I jumped as high as a two storey house.....well, nearly.
And closer to home - 5x4 inch film doesn't measure 5x4 inches. And 5xx7 film isn't actually 5x7 inches. And two and a quarter inch square film doesn't actually measure two and a quarter inches square. It's also called 6x6 (cms) and it's not 6xx6 either.
I don't know how we cope.

alan
 
Many many years ago (well before the internet) I first heard that weighing recipe ingredients was "how they did it in Europe." We do have two kitchen scales, an older analogue spring mechanism sort and a digital one. They don't get used a lot.Thing is recipes "in American" virtually all use volume measures, cups and fractions thereof, tablespoons and teaspoons and fractions thereof. For whatever reasons, kitchen scales weren't a common thing. A recipe for beans may call for a pound of one sort or another. Maybe that's why dry beans are commonly packaged in one pound bag (and marked also with the metric equivalent.)

Otherwise we have "shrinkflation." The coffee we get used to come in a 12 ounce bag, now it's 10.5 ounces, again with the metric equivalent.

Getting back to large format photography: Kodak engraved the focal lengths of their Commercial Ektars in inches. On the other hand they engraved their Wide Field Ektar focal lengths in millimeters and with the 190 and 250 mm lenses they added the inch equivalents in parentheses.There wasn't really room to do this on the bezel of the shorter Wide Field Ektars.

One piece of Kodak literature I have refers to the f/7.7 Ektar simply as an 8 inch lens but all the ones I've seen are engraved 203 mm.

David
 
Well, Americans seem to be perfectly competent at feeding themselves, so the cup system must work.
As for those film sizes, I suggest they have transmogrified into names, rather than specifications. Would we willingly say “Four and fifty-nine sixty-fourths by three and fifteen sixteenths inches” (or whatever…)?
We say “A ten-by-eight” which is grammatical nonsense, rather than “A ten-by-eight inch print”, which is what we mean.
When these sizes appeared, we would generally have been using fractions. Rules and scales in fractions of an inch were readily available and decimals regarded as eccentric, although some rules did carry a decimal inch scale on the other edge. Micrometers, which did have decimal scales, frequently carried an engraved conversion chart to fractions of an inch, down to sixty-fourths. These were mechanical of course. Digital versions were not available at all.
The scientific community would have been much more likely to use the full metric system. Science is international.
 
Well, Americans seem to be perfectly competent at feeding themselves, so the cup system must work.
As for those film sizes, I suggest they have transmogrified into names, rather than specifications. Would we willingly say “Four and fifty-nine sixty-fourths by three and fifteen sixteenths inches” (or whatever…)?
We say “A ten-by-eight” which is grammatical nonsense, rather than “A ten-by-eight inch print”, which is what we mean.
When these sizes appeared, we would generally have been using fractions. Rules and scales in fractions of an inch were readily available and decimals regarded as eccentric, although some rules did carry a decimal inch scale on the other edge. Micrometers, which did have decimal scales, frequently carried an engraved conversion chart to fractions of an inch, down to sixty-fourths. These were mechanical of course. Digital versions were not available at all.
The scientific community would have been much more likely to use the full metric system. Science is international.

All true, but do not underestimate the value of fractional measurement. In construction and carpentry, particularly, there is value in "finding the center" or "halfway" marking which are more naturally fractional than decimal.

Back in the Paleolithic when I was being schooled (you may recall Mrs. Draper), we were expected to learn both.
 
Yes, much easier with a mortice and tenon joint. The metric system edges you gently towards choosing easily-halved numbers in hand work.
i have a splendid collection (well, that sounds rather too dignified - a rag-bag) - of now obsolete scale rules and suchlike. Some are still useful, as metrication has no effect on the straightness of a straight edge or the number of degrees in a right angle.
Those farsighted French revolutionaries (friends and allies of the infant USA) revised weight, volume, temperature and length and attempted to revise and rationalise time. I haven’t heard of any attempt to rationalise angles, but it must have crossed their minds. It’s an oddly persistent remnant of the Bronze Age.
I’m afraid I don’t see any difficulty in using either system, but mixing them can cause confusion. We muddle through. I believe that NASA contrived to miss Mars, because of this.
 
Yes, much easier with a mortice and tenon joint. The metric system edges you gently towards choosing easily-halved numbers in hand work.
i have a splendid collection (well, that sounds rather too dignified - a rag-bag) - of now obsolete scale rules and suchlike. Some are still useful, as metrication has no effect on the straightness of a straight edge or the number of degrees in a right angle.
Those farsighted French revolutionaries (friends and allies of the infant USA) revised weight, volume, temperature and length and attempted to revise and rationalise time. I haven’t heard of any attempt to rationalise angles, but it must have crossed their minds. It’s an oddly persistent remnant of the Bronze Age.
I’m afraid I don’t see any difficulty in using either system, but mixing them can cause confusion. We muddle through. I believe that NASA contrived to miss Mars, because of this.

Yes, being able to easily switch back- and forth should be required learnings. My graduate education, especially, required working in many mathematical frameworks comfortably so that I can tell you happily that I am 21 years old in some base other than 10 ;)

I have no idea how things are in Canada or the UK, but here in the US, the educational system seems to have diminished interest in this sort of thing in favor of helping students finding new way to be outraged about nothing ... grrrrrrrr....
 
We do seem to be discovering an enormous number of things that may offend someone or make them feel uncomfortable in some way. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing in the world to deplore; there’s plenty of that. I won’t attempt to give examples.
 
We do seem to be discovering an enormous number of things that may offend someone or make them feel uncomfortable in some way. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing in the world to deplore; there’s plenty of that. I won’t attempt to give examples.
Well, I'm outraged that you are not more outraged
 
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When I grew up in the 1950s making things using imperial measurements was the norm. But when I started making musical instruments in the 1960s it didn't take me long to switch to metric measurements. Millimetres are far easier to work with than thirty seconds of an inch....
 
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