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Why There Are Exactly 1760 Yards in a Mile

There are 1760 yards in a mile, just as there are 5280 feet in a mile and 3 feet in one yard. Those numbers seem to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time—so how did they get there? Let’s look at the history of the English system of measurement to see where this odd quirk came from!

 

How did they make the measuring system?

The measuring system that we use today is based on the English system. It used to be called the English Measurement System but it has been renamed the Metric System. The current standard for measurement was established by France in the 18th century and is based on a decimal system. This decimal system uses units of 10 which means that there are 10 Yards in a Mile, 10 rods to an acre, 4 acres to a hectare, etc.

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How did they know how many feet in a mile?

When the English Parliament passed the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, they also made one other interesting decision: to create an international standard for measurement. Prior to that point, both the U.S. and Great Britain had been using different measurements (feet vs yards) with no clear answer as to which was more accurate or superior. The solution was to settle on a distance that would be easy to measure and divide into portions that were easily manageable. This is why there are exactly 1,760 yards in a mile!

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How were 3,600,000 steps arrived at?

The original figure of 3,600,000 steps was calculated by measuring the average number of steps per day (2,000) and multiplying it by 365 days. This is how many miles a person walks every year. It turns out that there are about 3600 yards in a mile (1760 yards). So to calculate how many miles one person would walk over their lifetime, you divide the total number of yards they will walk (3600 x 3,600,000 = 11.1 trillion) by the total number of Yards in a Mile there are to walk on Earth. So 11.1 trillion divided by 400 million (the total number of yards on Earth) equals 27 million miles walked in your lifetime!

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How did engineers arrive at 5280 ft?

The ancient Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, first determined the Earth’s circumference. The length of his stadia, or unit of measurement, was based on his idea that the circumference of the Earth is approximately 21,600 units. His estimate is close to reality; today we know that the circumference of the Earth is 24,900 miles (40,000 kilometers). 

The distance around a circle can be calculated using two measurements: its radius and its diameter. To calculate how far around a circle you travel (the circumference), divide 2 times pi by its radius. To calculate how high up you are (the height), divide 2 times pi by its diameter. Therefore: 2 x 3.14 = 6.28 x 100 = 62800 units per mile

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Do all inches really equal 12 nails?

It’s not that simple. It really depends on the nail. For example, if you’re using 3 nails, then there are 25 nails per foot and 12 inches per yard. But if you’re using 1-1/4 nails, then there are 30 nails per foot and 16 inches per yard. You can see that it just doesn’t work out mathematically to have 12 inches in a foot or 60 nails in a yard. So why is this so? You might be thinking well, I know it has to do with English measurements. And you would be right!

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Where do we get our measurement standards from?

Measurement standards have evolved over time to help us measure things more precisely. However, they all have one thing in common: they are based on powers of ten. That is, the meter (the base unit for measuring length) is based on multiplying the distance from the equator to the North Pole by 10 million meters. The kilogram (base unit for measuring weight) is based on taking a cubic meter of water and dividing it by 1000 kilograms. And so forth for other units of measure like degrees Celsius, seconds, etc.

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Conclusion

In summary, the answer to how many yards are there in a mile is simple: exactly 1760. You can’t break it down any further than that because there’s no such thing as an eighth of a mile. And while this may be an arbitrary number, it’s fascinating to learn how it became such an integral part of the American system of measurement.

 

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