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Hoppus Volume and area ready reckoner
Forestry Memories
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No: 4354   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1939
Hoppus Volume and area ready reckoner

This very fragile and well used book was donated by Jim Strachan of Huntly, whose father Jimmy Strachan was one of the early forest workers who joined the Forestry Commission a few years after the Bin Forest was formed in 1929 and over the years was promoted to the role of ganger.

The year of publishing is not noted on this book but assumed to be pre 1940 and would have been another reworking of the book first published by the English surveyor Edward Hoppus around 1737. Hoppus is reputed to have devised the volume measurement by the Hoppus system as a far more reliable and accurate system of measurement of stone, iron, baulks of timber etc but also of round and tapering tree stems. He roundly discredits other then available measuring systems and then describes his superior system for which he provides a series of ready reckoner tables and details a number of ways of using them to arrive at a volume and price that both seller and purchaser could have confidence in. Today in this digital world we seldom give any thought to working out complex volume or area calculations which in days gone passed would have involved many long and laborious mathematical workings before a suitable answer could be achieved. Hoppus’s clearly and persuasively explained measuring systems and critically a series of very handy ready reckoners seems to have won the day and was certainly the basis for tree volume measurement in GB (and wider) up until the advent of the choice of the metric system from 1973.

The diagrams and pages of explanation within the book are certainly of interest and show how the tables can be used for differing shape volume calculations and there are tables for area and price calculation. Page 184 of the pocket book lists the English measures and quantities related to building and land and examples are palm, hand, span, cubit, ell, geometrical space, fen, woodland pole, perch rod and rood. There are numbers or volumes as to what is called a ‘load’ such as a load of lime is 32 bushels or another example is a ‘hundred of nails is 120’ or again a ‘fodder of lead is 19.5 hundred or 2184 pounds’!

In the profession of forestry and its operations there was a surprisingly very high proportion of mathematical work which arose in everyday tasks. Many thousands of pages of notebooks were filled with diverse numbers and measurements from survey angles and lengths, numbers and areas of ground preparation, numbers and species of trees planted, the areas each covered, the volume of every saw log from the weekly tree felling operation, the time work, piece work and over time earnings for each worker. The list was seemingly endless.
Has anyone seen or even used this book or one like it?
Picture added on 14 February 2019 at 08:07
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Forestry Records, Booklets and Maps
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Forestry Records, Booklets and Maps

RSFS Certificates - Alex GrossertNewton Rigg College – Training in ForestryDevelopment of New Methods – Ergonomic AspectsCostings and other Money MattersWork Study in Forestry – Standard Time TablesWork Study in Forestry – HistoryThe Plan of Operations – private WoodlandsGrants for Woodland Owners 1969Booklet No 39 – IntroductionsDecimal Hoppus Tables by S E Wilson
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