Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pound (symbol lb., from the Latin libra) is the unit of mass in England, and the word has its equivalent in several other European countries, although it does not always express the same mass. It is said that its weight in England was derived from that of 7,680 well-dried and perfect grains of wheat, but this would obviously be liable to error. The British standard unit of mass is the Imperial standard pound Avoirdupois - a mass of platinum kept at the Exchequer Chambers; this contains 7,000 grains, while the pound Troy contains only 5,760. 2'2 lbs. are nearly equivalent to 1 kilogramme in the metric system. The word pound has another use: a pound of silver was used as a standard of money by the Romans, and hence was adopted in this country. This amount of silver was at one time made into twenty shillings, but, with characteristic artfulness, Edward II. made twenty-five from it, and subsequent monarchs reduced the shilling till, at one time, nearly three hundred were coined from a single pound. The number now made is sixty-six; but the word pound is altered in meaning, and is now applied to a sum of twenty shillings. The gold sovereign has now replaced the silver pound as a standard of value, the twenty shillings being merely tokens.