Our founding fathers were Penny Wise. They created the world's first decimal currency.

Sadly, we remain Pound Foolish. The rest of the world uses simple metric systems of measurement, while we Americans continue to struggle with yards, pounds, and tablespoons.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish. Time to wise up, America!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maria Montessori met My Grandfather

This morning I visited the website of the United States Metric Association, www.metric.org where I found the minutes of the first meeting of the American Metric Association which was held in 1916. My dad's father, Howard Richards, Jr. was one of those present. He was named Secretary. I wonder whether that means that he actually recorded the minutes. Perhaps there was a stenographer. The document is typed. Was Grandfather the typist?

As far as I could tell, all of the founding members were men. But, most remarkably, the guest speaker who addressed this founding meeting was a woman: the Italian educator Maria Montessori. Here is an excerpt of the her talk, as translated by her interpreter:
Wow. Maria Montessori has long been an idol of mine. I had no idea that my grandfather had ever met her. And I had never thought about her use of the metric system in working with children.
She would only have been 46 in 1916, when my grandfather was 39. I wonder if the group posed for a photograph?

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