Lot (unit)

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Württembergisches Loth (1859)
Bavarian 4 Loth (before 1870) prismatic

The Lot (formerly also written Loth ) is a unit of mass that was mainly used in the German-speaking area and in Scandinavia .

In the German Empire in 1868/69/72, in Austria in 1871/76 and in Switzerland in 1875/77 it was replaced by the metric unit of measurement, grams . But in the early 20th century it was still used as a popular unit of measurement in cooking and baking recipes.

An imprecise but clear rule of thumb is that one plumb bob is roughly equivalent to a “spoon full”.

Old Lot

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland the following weight system traditionally applied:

1/32 (commercial) pound = 1 lot = 4 quents = 16 pfennig weights = 32 penny weights

The plumb bob had - depending on the definition of the pound - different dimensions in the various German countries, which also differed over time. Its size was mostly between 14 g and 18 g. Some examples:

  • 14.606 g before May 1856 in Prussia, Anhalt, Hesse, Homburg, Frankfurt am Main, Lippe-Detmold, Schaumburg-Lippe, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Nassau, Reuss, Saxony, Saxony-Altenburg, Saxony-Coburg, Saxony-Gotha, Saxony- Weimar, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Waldeck and Württemberg
  • 15.1 g in Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • 15.2 g in Lübeck
  • 15.6 g in Baden, Bremen and the Grand Duchy of Hesse
  • 15 5/8 = 15.625 g in Württemberg
  • 15.9 g in Sachsen-Meiningen
  • 17.5 g in Austria
  • 17.6 g in Bavaria

New lot, inch lot, post lot

The law of "a general country weight" for the German customs union enacted on May 27, 1856 in Prussia redefined the weights:

  • 1 pound = 0.5 kg
  • 1 / 120,000 load = 1/3000 center = 1/30 pound = 1 lot = 10 quents = 100 cents = 1000 grain

1 lot thus corresponded to 16.666 g and at the same time a club thaler fine.

“This makes it easy to compare our new weight with the French one, which is also used in other countries, e. B. was introduced in the Netherlands and Lombardy. "

- Johann Christian Gädicke : Berlin calculator from small to large prices ...

In value comparison tables of old and new units of measurement of the same name in Prussia from 1856 the plumb bob from before 1856 (and also other units of measurement) was often used with the prefix "Old" and the new plumb bob that was valid from May 27, 1856 with the prefix " New "or" customs "provided. The Post said from 1858 the "Postlot".

In addition to Prussia, this breakdown of weight units also applied in Anhalt , Mecklenburg-Schwerin , Mecklenburg-Strelitz , Saxony and the Thuringian states .

In north-west Germany, on the other hand, the system of units was adapted more closely to the metric at the same time . In Braunschweig , Bremen , Hamburg , Hanover , Lübeck , Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe, the plumb bob was defined as the tenth part of the inch pound = 50 g. In the other countries, the pound remained divided into 32 lots.

In Austria and Bavaria there was at times a “metric lot” of 10 g (repealed by law in 1888). In Austria and Poland this metric plumb line lives on as a decagram to this day.

Volume measure

Lot was also a French measure of the volume of liquids in the Lille region .

See also


In literary terms, the lot is u. a. in the fairy tale of the brave little tailor ("The mush seems good to me, weigh it off four lots for me, dear woman, if it's a quarter pound , it doesn't matter to me ") and in the final part of the story of the soup kaspar from Heinrich's Struwwelpeter Hoffmann used ("It weighed maybe half a plumb bob").

  • Royal Württemb. Central office for trade and commerce (ed.): The dimensions and weights of Württemberg versus the metrics of the German Empire . Publishing house of JB Metzler'schen Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1871.
  • Wolfgang Trapp : Small manual of the dimensions, numbers, weights… Phillip Reclam publishing house, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-89836-198-5 .
  • Walter Gellert et al. a .: Small encyclopedia of nature. Verlag VEB Leipziger Druckhaus and Offizin Andersen Nexö Leipzig , 1962.
  • Johann Christian Gädicke: Berlin calculator from small to large prices ... Ernst'sche Buchhandlung Quedlinburg, Berlin 1858.

Individual evidence

  1. Margarete and Emma Doennig: Cookbook . Self-published by the cooking school of the East Prussian Household School, Königsberg, 6th edition 1911, p. 1.
  2. Wolfgang Schneider : The plumb weight at Paracelsus. In: Peter Dilg, Guido Jüttner, Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke , Paul Ulrich Unschuld (eds.): Perspektiven der Pharmaziegeschichte. Festschrift Rudolf Schmitz . Graz 1983, pp. 325-330; here: p. 329.
  3. The measurements and weights of Württemberg versus the metrics of the German Empire.
  4. Leopold Herzka: The building advisor. Handbook for the whole construction industry and its border areas. Springer-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-70919-993-0 , p. 4.
  5. ^ Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon . Volume 16, Leipzig 1908, p. 221.
  6. a b c General German real encyclopedia for the educated classes. Conversations Lexicon. Eleventh, revised, improved and increased edition. Volume ninth: Konradin to Mauer. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1866, p. 567 f., Keyword Loth; ibid., Volume 11 : Occupation to Premium. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1867, p. 634, keyword books .
  7. Jurende's Patriotic Pilgrim. Business and entertainment book for all provinces of the Austrian imperial state, all friends of culture from the teaching, military and nutritional class, especially dedicated to all nature and fatherland friends, Volume 21, Winiker, Brünn 1834, p. 179