Hoppus's Measurer book & antique carpentry tools (C) Daniel Friedman Hoppus's Measurer Book

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History & photos of the Hoppus' Measurer Book:

This article describes the history & uses of the Hoppus's Measurer: a book of early wood frame construction tables & guides for the mathematically disinclined.

First published in 1736, the Hoppus's Measurer, or Measuring Made Easy to the Meanest Capacity, provided a new set of tables which promised to give the solid content of any piece of timver, stone or other building material, square or round, and the data needed to set the material value at any price per cubic foot.

Our page top photo shows our copy of the Hoppus Measurer book as well as several antique carpenter's tools.

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History & Uses of the Hoppus's Measurer: early wood frame construction tables & guides for the mathematically disinclined

Post and beam Barn (C) Daniel Friedman

The English surveyor Edward Hoppus was an English surveyor known for having introduced the the Hoppus, an eponymous unit in his 1736 manual of practical calculations. The copy of the Hoppus's Measurer shownin this article has lost the initial dated page but the book compares with a London version published by A. Spottiswoode, New Street Square, in 1837.

[Click to enlarge any image or table]

Hoppus's Measurer book text (C) Daniel Friedman

My copy of the Hoppus Measurer (shown here) was published in Edinburgh by Oliver and Boyd, Tweeddale Court, and was well-used. The book, owned by A. Butcher, was shaped to fit nicely into the back pocket of a carpenter or estimator. The result of long use has given this copy a nice curve.

The hoppus cubic foot (or ‘hoppus cube’ or ‘h cu ft’) was the standard volume measurement used for timber in the British Empire and countries in the British sphere of influence before the introduction of metric units. It is still used in the hardwood trade of some countries.

This volume measurement was developed to estimate what volume of a round log would be usable timber after processing, in effect attempting to ‘square’ the log and allows for waste. The hoppus ton (HT) was also a traditionally used unit of volume in British forestry. One hoppus ton is equal to 50 hoppus feet or 1.8027 cubic metres. Some shipments of tropical hardwoods, especially shipments of teak from Myanmar (Burma), are still stated in hoppus tons. - Wikipedia retrieved 10/27/2013 [1]

Hoppus's Measurer book text (C) Daniel Friedman

The tables in my copy of the Hoppus's Measurer are described by Hoppus as including reference to stone as well as timber, as stone can similarly suffer wastage during processing into regular pieces.

Hoppus's Measurer book text (C) Daniel Friedman

To estimate the volume of timber in round logs Hoppus defined the Hoppus volume as shown in his text and given below:

Hoppus Volume (hft) = (Mid Quarter Girth in ins.)^2 X Length (ft) / 144

One hoppus foot = 1.273 true ft3; 27.74 h ft = 1 m3; and 1 h ft = 0.03605m3. A hoppus foot is approximately 21% oversize compared with a true cubic foot. - Wikipedia retrieved 10/27/2013 [1]

Post and beam Barn (C) Daniel Friedman Hand hewn beam (C) Daniel Friedman


Hoppus's Measurer book text (C) Daniel Friedman


Post and beam construction, brick infill (C) Daniel Friedman


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