Occupations of 19th-Century
NEW YORK Marble Cemetery
Vault Purchasers

 

Advertisements courtesy Newsbank and the American Antiquarian Society.


UNDERSTANDING A 19th CENTURY MERCHANT'S AD

Exact measurements of capacity varied with the product, the locale, and the time period.  There could even be a difference between import sizes and export sizes so that the spread would advantage the shipping merchant.  The relationships among the various larger measures, however, were fixed.  The most common unit of volume was the hogshead (see photo below), a straight-sided barrel with liquid contents equivalent to about 21 modern cases of liquor.

10 hogsheads molasses = 640 gals.
10 pipes brandy = 1,280 gals.
5 do = 5 ditto (pipes) = 640 gals.
4 hogsheads rum = 256 gals.
4 pipes rum = 512 gals.
13 hogsheads sugar = 6,500 lbs.
15 hundredweight lead = 1,680 lbs.
7 hundredweight shot = 784 lbs.
10 kegs raisins = 20 cu. ft. = 128 gals.
30 chests tea = 2,400 lbs.
25 boxes glass panes = unknown quantity
8 quarter-casks sherry = 256 gals.
8 ditto + 1 pipe wine = 384 gals.
15 kegs tobacco = 4,125 lbs.
50 kegs + 10 barrels pepper = 140 cu. ft.
1 pipe gin = 128 gals.
300 kegs + 10 bags ginger = 600+ cu. ft.
16 tons snuff = 32,000 lbs.
10 bags alum = unknown quantity

by Cornelius DuBois, Vault 54, New York Marble Cemetery
New–York Gazette & General Advertiser, 17 December 1806

Advertisement courtesy Newsbank and the American Antiquarian Society
Hogshead photo courtesy Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA