There are 14 pounds in a stone. The imperial system of measurement uses pounds and stones as units of weight. 1 stone is equal to 14 pounds.
What is a Stone?
A stone is a unit of measurement used to measure a person’s weight in the imperial system used in the United Kingdom and some other countries. It is equal to 14 pounds.
The stone as a unit of measure has a long history, dating back to the Middle Ages in England. It was used as a standard unit to measure the weights of goods at markets and in trade. The name “stone” likely comes from its use to describe weights around the size of rocks or stones used in trade. Over time, the exact weight of a stone was standardized to 14 pounds.
Some key facts about the stone measurement:
– 1 stone = 14 pounds exactly
– Stone is abbreviated as “st”
– It is used for measuring body weight and food items in the UK and Ireland
– 14 pounds per stone makes math easy to convert stones to pounds
– Common usage is in whole numbers, describing body weight as “11 stone” not “11.5 stone”
While the SI system and metric measurements are common in UK today, use of the stone persists for body weight and food quantities. It is often found alongside pounds and kilograms in weight measurements. The stone offers a more convenient increment for measuring body weight compared to pounds alone.
Origins of the Stone Weight Unit
The stone has a long history of use in England dating back to the Middle Ages period between the 5th and 15th centuries. Before standardized weights existed, stones were literally used as weights to measure goods at local markets. Sellers would balance goods for sale against stones of varying weights.
Over time, the weight of a “stone” was standardized across marketplaces in England. By the 13th century, a stone was set at 14 pounds in weight. The use of stone weights persisted through the Middle Ages as England did not adopt metric units until much later.
Stone weights were made mandatory for use in trade and commerce during the reign of King Henry VIII in 1532. This further solidified the stone as a standard unit of measurement. The 14 pounds per stone conversion was officially recognized in law.
Advantages of the Stone as a Weight Unit
The stone offered some advantages that led to its continued use over the centuries in England:
– Approximately the weight of common trade items at the time like sacks of flour or produce
– Larger increment than a pound for measuring heavier weights
– Easy math conversion – multiply or divide by 14 to go between stone and pounds
– Human-scale relatability for estimating body weight
The stone continues to be used today for body weight and food items specifically because it offers a more convenient increment of measurement over just using pounds. The legacy of the medieval marketplace weights persists into modern day.
The Stone Weight Unit in the Imperial System
The stone is part of the imperial system of weights and measures used in the British Empire and countries of the Commonwealth. While many of these countries have moved to the SI and metric system, the imperial system remains in use for some applications.
The imperial units consist of:
– Inches, feet, yards, miles for distance
– Ounces, pounds, stones for weight
– Pints, quarts, gallons for volume
In the imperial system, larger units are created from 14 or 16 smaller units. This enables easy conversion, such as 14 pounds to a stone.
The stone is thus an intermediate weight unit within the imperial system, situated between pounds and quarter-tons. It bridges a gap between the smaller pound weights and larger quarter-ton units used for commodities.
Position in the Imperial Units of Weight
– 1 pound (lb) = 16 ounces
– 1 stone (st) = 14 pounds
– 1 quarter (qr) = 2 stones or 28 pounds
– 1 hundredweight (cwt) = 4 quarters or 112 pounds
– 1 ton = 20 hundredweights or 2,240 pounds
The stone occupies an intermediary position within this system between consumer and commercial weights. It can express body weights or food quantities in pounds as well as larger weights for aggregate goods. The imperial system provided a range of weight units suited for different uses in everyday life and trade.
Converting Stones to Pounds
The conversion between stones and pounds is straightforward because of the 14 pounds per stone relationship. Converting stone measurements to pound measurements simply involves multiplying by 14.
– 1 stone = 14 pounds
– 7 stones = 7 * 14 = 98 pounds
– 1.5 stones = 1.5 * 14 = 21 pounds
To go from pounds to stones, you simply divide the pounds by 14. For example:
– 28 pounds = 28 / 14 = 2 stones
– 133 pounds = 133 / 14 = 9.5 stones
Because 14 is a convenient number, these conversions can often be done mentally with ease. The 1:14 ratio was likely chosen deliberately to make conversions simple for everyday use.
Stone and Pound Conversion Table
This table can be used for reference to convert between the two units in either direction. Just match up the stones or pounds value and see the corresponding number in the other column.
The Stone in Use Today
While most measurements in the UK have moved to the metric and SI system, the stone remains in colloquial use for body weight and food quantities. Some key examples include:
– Bathroom scales often measure body weight in both kilograms and stones/pounds
– People will express their weight in casual conversation in stones or stone/pounds
– Medical records may track patient weight in stones and pounds
– Recipes may list ingredient quantities in pounds and ounces or stones
– Food labels can show both metric and imperial units including stones
– Groceries like meat or vegetables may be priced per pound or per stone
Sports Weight Classes
– Boxing, wrestling and other combat sports have weight classes every stone from 7 to 25 stones
– This allows even spacing of 14 pounds between classes
While not used in official capacities, the stone remains a colloquial part of everyday British life and commerce. It is likely to persist given its convenience for expressing body weight and food quantities.
Should the Stone Be Retired?
There is occasional debate in the UK as to whether the stone should be retired as an antiquated unit. Critics argue:
– It is not an official SI unit recognized by science and trade
– Can cause confusion when used alongside metric units
– Does not integrate well with decimal-based metric conversions
However, advocates argue that the stone has utility in everyday life:
– More convenience than pounds alone for body weight
– Familiarity from long historical use
– Supplements rather than replaces metric units in most usage
Given these factors, there does not seem to be substantial momentum to retire the stone in the near future. It remains an informal but entrenched part of British culture that will likely continue in colloquial use. Calls for it to be eliminated are unlikely to succeed given its persistent everyday utility.
Should the Stone Be Retired? – Conclusion
The stone has endured as a unit of weight in the UK for centuries and is deeply entrenched in certain contexts like body weight and food quantities. While unofficial, it does not cause much actual confusion and supplements rather than replaces metric units in most usage. Given its history and utility, campaigns to retire the stone will likely face substantial inertia. The stone may annoy metric purists but remains a beloved cultural quirk unlikely to disappear anytime soon from everyday British life.
The History and Future of the Stone
In summary, the stone has a long and storied history dating back to medieval England. This unique unit of 14 pounds persists in modern daily life due to:
– Deep cultural roots and familiarity
– Utility for expressing body weight and food measures
– Simple conversion of 14 pounds per stone
While not an official unit, the stone endures as a cherished informal custom. It connects the British people to their history and culture. While some call for its retirement in favor of the metric system, most British citizens continue to understand, use, and appreciate this centuries-old unit. The long reign of the stone weight unit seems poised to continue in Britain for the foreseeable future.