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How Far? FurLong!

Last week's "lint" focused on the unit "acre," which was connected to a "furlong." The latter denoted the length of the plow furrow in one acre of a plowed open field.

Gradually, an acre became a tract of land that was one furlong long and one chain wide. Often, this led to claims that a furlong was the "length" of an acre. This is an interesting twist...an area having a set length!

Gradually, a furlong was shifted to be a "stadium," which is one-eighth of a Roman mile (1000 paces). Oh, there were 625 feet to the stade, eight stade to the mile, and three miles to the league...and a league was the distance a man could walk in one hour.

In the Weights and Measures Act of 1985, the United kingdom abolished official use of furlong as a measurement unit. Yet, where are furlongs still used regularly? Horse racing!

And, as an odd piece of trivia...the public bus stops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are each a furlong apart.