What is CWT?
CWT is the unit of measurement used when referring to “centum weight”. The term “centum” is Latin for “hundred” and so CWT is also known as “hundredweight”. In specific terms, CWT is a unit of mass which is defined according to pounds. The use of the term “hundredweight” when referring to the weight or mass of objects is said to have been used starting in the 16th century, specifically around the year 1577. Hundredweight is the unit used particularly in the crop production industry. Even up to the 21st century, the term “hundredweight” is still being used in the agricultural sector.
Two versions or two types of CWT exist. One type of CWT is called “long hundredweight”. This type is also called the “British” type or definition and is equivalent to 112 pounds. Using the imperial system of weights and measures, when one speaks of a “hundredweight”, he/she is referring to a total of 100 pounds. The other type of CWT is called “short hundredweight” or “short CWT” which is also called the “US CWT version”. This type is equivalent to 100 pounds. Canada also uses the short CWT unit of measurement when referring to something that weighs 100 pounds. In other places, short CWT is renamed to “cental” to distinguish it from the generic “hundredweight” term which refers to the “long” 112-pound type.
The use of hundredweight in weighing various objects has its roots on the “avoirdupois” system created by the French. Back in the medieval times, “stone weight” was the unit of measurement used and this is equal to 14 pounds. Over time, the British wanted to use “hundredweight” as the official unit but not without opposition. In the 19th century, the use of hundredweight as a unit of mass is even made illegal. But after several years, the use of the term became legal again under a new name called “cental”. In the US, “short CWT” is the unit of mass used in selling a variety of products like cereal grains, oil seeds, livestock, and even additives to cement.