Foot, a measure of length indicating its origin by its name, in general use in all civilized countries, and supposed to be adopted from the length of the human foot, possibly at first of some reigning sovereign. The length is very variable within moderate limits in different countries. The Roman pes has been calculated from several sources, as ancient measures, measurements of recorded distances along roads, and measurements of buildings of recorded dimensions. From the first source their foot appears to have been 0.978 of the English foot, from the second 0.97082, and from the third 0.96994; the average of which would be 11.6496 inches. The Greek as used at Athens is believed to have been to the Roman foot as 25 is to 24, making it 12.135 English inches. The English standard, after a prolonged effort to recover the standard of 1760, which had been destroyed by fire, is now referred to the "straight line or distance between the centres of the two gold plugs or pins in the bronze bar deposited in the office of the exchequer." This bar is designated as '"bronze 19, No. 1," and the length is to be measured when its temperature is 62° F. This is declared to be the standard yard, and the standard foot is its third part. The twelfth part of the foot is the standard inch. The United States standard is a brass rule made for the coast survey by Troughton of London, from the old English standard. The following are a few of the principal feet, with their value in decimals of the English foot: The French old pied du roy equals 1.07, the modern pied usuel, 1.065; German, 0.971; Amsterdam old foot, 0.93, since 1820, if used, 1.093; Denmark Rhineland foot, 1.04; Hamburg, 0.941; Stockholm, 0.97; St. Petersburg, 1.145; Riga, 0'89; Canton, 1.05; Lisbon, 0.927, or according to others, 0.72; Turkey, 1.10; Constantinople, 1.23. As used by surveyors and engineers, the foot is decimally divided.
Architects and artificers employ it with these divisions, and their scales are also made with inch divisions, and these subdivided into eighths and sixteenths of an inch.