POUND (Sax. pond, Ger. pfund, Lat. pondu 8, the unit of weight in the western and central states of Europe, differing, however, in value in all of them. The symbol (lb.) for it is equally general, and is derived from the Latin word Libra. The old English pound, which is said to have been the standard of weight from the time of William the conqueror till that of Henry VII., was derived from the weight of 7,680 grains of wheat, all taken from the middle of the ear, and well dried. After this time, the troy pound, which was heavier than the old English pound, became the ,) standard, but it was divided into only ,760 grains. Henry VIII. introduced the avoir dttpois pound for weighing butcher meat in the market, and it gradually came to be used for all coarse goods in frequent demand; it contained 7,000 troy grains. The troy and avoirdupois pounds, both legal measures, continued in regular use from this period— the former being gradually appropriated by jewelers and apothecaries; and, to prevent variation, a brass weight of one pound troy was constructed in 1758, and placed in charge of the clerk of the house of commons. This weight, in 1824, was declared by act of parliament to be " the original and genuine standard measure of weight," and flint from which the value of the ounce, grain, pound avoirdupois, etc., were to be deduced, hut being, along with the standards of measure, destroyed in 1834, a commission was appointed to consider the best means of replacing them. Afte" long deliberation, hear
ing of evidence, and sifting of suggestions, it was agreed, inter olio, that the standard of weight should be a piece of platinum, weighing 7,000 grains (an avoirdupois pound), but that this piece should not be defined with reference to any natural standard. The troy pound thus ceased to be the standard, but its use was allowed to 2ewelers and (differ ently divided and subdivided) to apothecaries.
The pound-weight of silver, a common money standard among the ancient Romans, was introduced by them into the countries they conquered, and thus Va‘ term " pound " became a designation of a certain amount of coined money. Thus, nowadays, the English pound is considered as something (a coin or otherwise) equivaleat '0;10 shillings, but originally it denoted the pound of silver which was coined into 20 soiling's. From Edward H.'s time, the coins were more and more diminished in size, t:Act monarch coining 25 shillings from a pound of silver; while from the same weight of 'Allan his various successors coined 30, 45, 48, 96, 144, 288, in the time of Elizabeth 61, and (dur ing the reigns of her successors) 62 shillings. George I. coined 66 shillings to ti'e pound of silver, and this rate still continues, the term " pound" having been completely severed from its original meaning, and appropriated to signify 20 shillings of the present coinage.