This page describes an obsolete unit.

The unit described on this page was in use prior to modern methods of precision measurement. It was based on a standard which is no longer available, and which is not capable of being calibrated against modern measurement units. Therefore, the equivalence to modern SI units or to current United States customary units can only be considered approximate.

The Ruthe (translated yard by Cardarelli[1], but better rendered rod, which is both closer to representing its length and etymologically correct) was a Prussian unit of length or distance prior to 1872, when the German Empire was formed, and all traditional local systems were abolished in Germany.

(Note that the current German spelling would write the word as Rute, without the "h"; however, this is the actual spelling as used in the nineteenth century.)

Since no actual Prussian standards are definitively known by the present day, the only way of determining the length of any Prussian unit would be to measure something in modern terms whose length was given by the Prussians in their units. And because this procedure does not give us any clue to which unit may have been the base unit and which were subsidiary units, this distinction really does not apply to the Prussian units here given, so all the units really have equal status. However, most references appear to have treated the Fuss (Prussian foot) as the base unit, expressing other units in terms of this unit. The Ruthe, then, can be considered as defined as 12 Füsse (Prussian feet).

In many other German cities, quite different values were current, many of which made a Ruthe of 16 Füsse, more nearly approximating the U. S. and British rod.

Value in terms of the FussEdit

The Ruthe was equal to 12 Füsse.

Relation to other Prussian unitsEdit

Value in terms of modern unitsEdit

Based on the figure of 0.313857 m for the length of the Fuss, given by Cardarelli in his tabulation[1], the Ruthe was 3.766284 m = 4.118858 yd = 0.00234 mi.


  1. Cardarelli, François (1998). Scientific Unit Conversion. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3-540-76022-9. 

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