Metric/Decimal Time

Any research done in relation to the period of Les Misérables, whether for fanfiction or fanart purposes or otherwise.
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Metric/Decimal Time

Postby Gervais » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:47 pm

Yes, I realize that the short-lived attempt at metric time doesn't really affect Les Miz, but it's still an interesting topic. So, have a free list of links!

Articles that focus mostly on history: ... 0-hour-day ... cimal-time ... _time.html
RT history

Article that focuses mostly on the technical side:

This site has a 24 hour--metric hour conversion clock:

Basically, the revolutionaries wanted to get rid of all aspects of the old regime. In a hipster-esque movement to get rid of anything "imposed by The Man," to paraphrase, they found someone that redid time measurements to fit the decimal sysetem.

The basic units of measurement for this sysetem:
French Revolutionary Metric Time:
10 metric hours in a day
100 metric minutes in a metric hour
100 metric seconds in a metric minute
10 days in a metric week (called a dekade)

Although a tenth of a day is a convenient unit for scheduling purposes, it is a rather arbitrary one as the base unit for naming purposes. The most natural base unit is a day. Therefore I propose that the base Metric Time unit be called a day in English and that it be equal to one mean solar day. This should, however, be considered a temporary name for the present purpose of explaining decimilized time in English. Users of other languages should replace it with their word for day, such as Tag, día, jour, יוֹם, or 日.

Using metric prefixes on day we get:

Metricized Day
deciday (dd) = 1/10 day (Metric hour)
centiday (cd) = 1/100 day
milliday (md) = 1/1000 day (Metric minute)
microday (µd) = 1/1000000 day (Metric decisecond)
The "day"s may be omitted for brevity in situations where it is understood that you are referring to time. This gives us the following informal or slang names:

Informal Names
deciday = deci or dez
centiday = centi or cent
milliday = milli or mil
microday =micro or mic (pronounced "mike")
or moo (the symbol for micro is µ)

The effort to standardize system throughout the country was eventually abandoned, mostly for lack of acceptance by the people in and around France.

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Re: Metric/Decimal Time

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:53 am

This is fascinating! Now I'm tempted to actually *learn* the metric conversion.

Were any timepieces ever made with the metric time system?
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Re: Metric/Decimal Time

Postby Gervais » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:08 pm

Well, one of the reasons it was abandoned was that the cost to replace every single clock would be too expensive, so I assume they made clocks that weren't bought. They exist now, too:
And this site sells clocks:

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Re: Metric/Decimal Time

Postby justintree » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:49 am

I actually just found out about this through a video explaining that there is a group of people out there who want to change the whole numerical system from base 10 (decimal) to base 12 (dozenal). In the video he mentions the French attempt at decimal time, which I thought was very interesting.

Briefly why some think dozenal is better than decimal: 12 has more factors, so fractions would be easier. For instance, one third in decimal is 0.3333333 forever. One third is dozenal is 0.4.
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