What is it about the metric system that scares Americans so much? Do they avoid it because they like saying ‘pound’ more than ‘kilogram’?

America, or at least its citizens who aren’t members of the country’s scientific community, love to hate the metric system. But why? After all, in 1875 the United States was one of 17 nations that backed the international use of metric measurements when it signed the Treaty of the Meter. Over the past 50 years America has tried on numerous occasions to implement the use of centimeters instead of inches and kilograms rather than pounds, but to no avail.

As the last industrialized country to not be officially ‘metrified’, the U.S.-favored imperial system has lost some ground on American soil to metric measurements over the years (take a look at the label on your favorite bottle of vino, for example). Some place the blame for the imperial system still being the go-to units on the shoulders of the Industrial Revolution, which saw factories across the country basing all of their manufacturing and machinery around inches, yards and pounds. Since then, and despite numerous efforts by Congress to encourage a change to the favored global metric units, the big switch to metric has been fought tooth and nail on U.S. soil.

Story by Jay Moon