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Hollow dimensions

All the hollow measurements valid worldwide today are based on the metric system (Table 1); see also under Dimensions. In addition, very old hollow measures are still in use (Table 2). The Anglo-American measurement systems are almost only used in the USA, England and some other countries (Table 3). The old Roman hollow dimensions are included under Congius. In the sources on old units of measurement, the information on volumes is often different and the differences are sometimes considerable. See also other lists of measures under the keywords barrel types, area measures, bottles, units of measurement, area under vines, wine containers and wine production quantities.

metric system

Hollow dimensions


Cube (edge length)

Number of litres

Millilitres ml 1 cm³ (1 cm) one thousandth
Centiliter cl 10 cm³ (2.15 cm) 0,01
Deciliter dl 100 cm³ (4.64 cm) 0,1
Litres l 1 dm³ (10 cm) 1 (for water 1 kg)
Hectolitres hl 100 dm³ (46.42 cm) 100
Kilolitres kl 1 m³ (100 cm) 1.000

various hollow dimensions

In the past, a distinction was usually made between hollow dimensions for liquids (liquid dimensions) and hollow dimensions for solids (dry dimensions for nuts, salt, flour and grain, for example). In some cases, the dry masses were further divided into those for "smooth fruit" (e.g. hulled grain) and those with "rough fruit" (after threshing, not hulled). The picture shows six hollow measures from the "Mens ponderia" in Pompeii, a municipal institution for checking dimensions and weights. These were found during excavations in the area of the 79th century, which was excavated by the Vesuvius eruption. AD, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius.

Hohlmaße - sechs Hohlmaße aus der „Mens ponderia“ in Pompeji

Hollow dimensions

Volume in litres


Eighth (eighth) 0,125 Austria
Amphora different ancient Greece and Rome
Anchor 34 to 45 many European countries
Armina 34,75 old wine measure in Spain
Brente (Brenta) 40 to 50 old wine measure Switzerland, Italy
Butte (Hotte, Logel) 40 old wine measure in francs
Cántara (Cantaro) 18.35 and others Spain, South America
Batch different France
Chopine (Chaupine) 476.073 ml France
Congius 3,27 ancient Rome
Culleus 524 antique Rome, leather hose
Douil 450 old hollow measure in France
Driling (Dreiling) different Germany, Austria
Bucket 12 to 15 an old hollow measure in many countries
Package different old Hohlmaß, general designation
Glass 0,15 old Hohlmaß in Germany
Hemina 0,274 ancient Rome, set of beakers
Jug (measuring jug) 0,9 to 2,17 old Hohlmaß in Germany
Jug 0.5 to 1.5 old measure in many countries
Skid 458 to 796 old Hohlmaß in Germany
Legel (Lägel, Logel) 45 to 50 old wine measure Deutschl, Switzerland
Litron 0,81 old hollow measure in France
Marc 4.000 kg of grapes see under champagne
Measure 1 to 2, today a liter german-speaking region
Metzen (harlots) different german-speaking region
Muid (Demi-Muid) different an old hollow measure in many countries
Oxhoft (Oxhoved) 210 to 290 an old hollow measure in many countries
Pazeid 6 1/3, 50 old Hohlmaß in South Tyrol
Whistle 0,1 to 0,2 Austria
Whistles (Piffche) 0,1 Germany
Pot (Pote, pot) 0,9 to 2,4 an old hollow measure in many countries
Quarter (quarters) different old tuning
Bottle 0,4 and 0,5 german-speaking region
Sester 6,25 Baden, Alsace, Switzerland
Sextarius 0,54 antique Rome, jug
Piece 1.200 german-speaking region
Tappit hen 2,25 old measure and wine vessel
Ton 60 to 347 an old hollow measure in many countries
Tonneau 900 old hollow measure in France
Yhrn (Orna, Ürn) 56 to 88 old wine measure in South Tyrol

anglo-American hollow dimensions

The origin of this system of measurement lies in medieval England and became valid in the area of influence of the former British Empire. There are several variants. In the USA in 1893 the reference to the own measuring standards was given to the basic units yard and pound, the corresponding metric measuring standards were determined. With the introduction of the unified "International Yard" in 1959, all countries except Great Britain made a final change to the metric units of measurement. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Anglo-American measurement systems were officially used in the United Kingdom and its colonies as well as in the USA.

Although Great Britain had committed itself in 1973 to abandon the system of measurement in favour of the metric system, the changeover met with great resistance. In order to facilitate this, both measurement systems were originally to be used in parallel until 2010; this exemption was changed to an unlimited one in 2007. In the USA, the Anglo-American system of measurement in the variant of "Customary units" (historical form of the British system of measurement) is still fully in use as the main system of measurement. Some Anglo-American measures are also used internationally, but often not as actually measured quantities, but as a nominal designation. For example, oil is traded on the stock exchange in barrels, but is weighed in tons. The "imperial units" are still widely used, especially in the everyday lives of citizens. The situation is similar in Ireland, Canada, India, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.





Gill 0,142 0,118 1/32 gallon
Cup 0,284 0,236 1/16 gallon
Pint 0,568 0,473 1/8 gallon
Quarter 1,14 0,946 1/4 gallon
Gallon 4,546 3,785 -
Roundlet 68,191 68,137 1/7th pipe
Barrel 119,335 119,240 1/8 Tun
Tierce 159,113 158,987 1/2 Puncheon, 1/6 Tun
Hogshead 238,67 238,48 1/2 pipe, 1/4 tune
Puncheon 318,226 317,975 1/3 Tun
Pipe 477,339 476,962 1/2 Do
Tun (sound) 954,68 953,924 2 pipes, 3 puncheons, 6 tierces

Hollow dimensions from Pompeii: By Claus Ableiter - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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