[THE WESTERN MEASURES IN THE MIDDLE EAST / SCIENCE] Mesâhât ve ekyâl ve evzân-i cedîdeye dair kanûnnâme [i.e., The Code of Law on the new measurements, scales…]

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Matbaa-yi Âmîre, Istanbul, AH 1285 = [1869].

Contemporary yellowish wrappers. Demy 8vo. (21 x 14 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). [3], 31, [1], 25 p. tables of the new measurements. Tear on the spine without loss. Illegible Ottoman stamp on the recto of the front pastedown. Otherwise, a very good copy.

First and only edition of this exceedingly rare first law book documenting, celebrating, and declaring the adoption of a new Western measurement system to the Ottoman Empire (and the Islamic world) including weights, measures, and surveying terminology and method. This rare earliest book code of law starts with a content page. After the title page, the text starts with Sultan Abdülaziz’s tughra and the statement "The Copy of the Imperial Edict". 25 charts of the new measures published in addition to the Code text are the first official charts that gave the metric equivalents of lands, cubage, and weight units together.

In this 1869 Code, "meter" was adapted to the unit of length measurement, and the expression “zira-i a'shârî” was used instead. “Ar” was adapted to the unit of land measurement, 'Öshr-i zira küb”, that is, cubic decimeters, as the unit of measurement of volume, “liter” as the unit equivalent, and “dirham-i ashârî” or “gram” as the measurement of weight.

It was stated that the law would be valid in official transactions as of March 1871, that the public could use old and new measurements together until March 1874, and that the old measurements would be banned after this date.

The transition process of the Ottomans to the metric system officially started with this 15-article law dated 27 September 1869 (20 Cemaziyelahir 1286) during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876).

Following the publication of the Code of Laws, the first measuring and weighing sets were imported from France. Metric measurements and scales were also manufactured in Tophane-i Amire in Istanbul. Although the meter system has been made compulsory throughout the country since 1874, it was seen that the new measurements were not used to the extent expected. It was decided to postpone the transition to new measurements, and a five-year extension period was made between 1874 and 1879.

Ottoman Empire was the first Islamic state to officially switch to the Western measurement system, with the "Mesahât ve Evzân ve Ekyâl-i Cedîdeye Daîr Kanûnnâme" [i.e., Law on New Measures] including 15 articles, dated September 27, 1869 (20 Cemaziyelahir 1286) during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz.

Özege 13219., As of November 2023, OCLC shows only three copies of which only one copy in the North American library (Harvard): (949514219, 83418738, 1375274386).