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History of metrology in Montenegro

As early as from the Middle Ages there was a measurement system in Montenegro. Thus, in the Charter of Balsa III to monastery Moracnik on Skadar Lake, threshing floor of salt and a bucket of salt were mentioned, as a donation to the monastery.

The charter of Ivan Crnojevic, from 1485, says that each household brings three bundles of firewood to the monastery at Cetinje.
According to the available documentation in Montenegro, the following measurements were also mentioned: cubit, span, fathom, thumb i.e. inch, yardstick, load (100kg), footstep, foot, 'vagan' – a measurement for wheat (61kg), 'krblja', scythe (of a meadow), oka or okka (an ottoman measure), plough (of arable land), hoe (of digging), a bucket (of milk), 'žban'(of water), vlaka (of hay), sack (of wheat). In the occupied territories of Montenegro, were used measures of the ruling countries, as for example col, meter and similar. This is witnessed throughout the extensive literature relating to the measures used since the Roman times.

Metric system was adopted in France by the end of the XVIII century. The need for the usage of the universal metric system in other countries as well, becomes evident in the middle of the XIX century. In 1875, representatives from 17 countries in Paris, at a diplomatic conference on meter, have signed a treaty, named "Meter Convention". The states parties have decided to found and finance a permanent scientific institute "The International Bureau of Weights and Measures" (Bureau International des Poids et Measures - BIPM). The application of the metric system in Montenegro was introduced by a Decree of January the 1st 1888, but based on the available archival records one can see that the "new (French) meter measurements" were used even in the first half of the XIX century. The term referred to a meter has been mentioned for the first time in the letter of Petar Petrovic Njegos, from 1835, where he informs district captain from Kotor, about a deal, made by some Montenegrins, for the delivery of "80 pieces of nets and two hundred meters of rope." There can be found other cases of the usage of kilogram and meter in the second half of the XIX century Montenegro: according to a document from 1879, commander of the Montenegrin army in Metohija, has ordered for army to receive flour measured in kilos, and not in "an easy Montenegrin steelyard" (as they were probably using the okka). The record of mountains, hills and other important places in Montenegro was drawn up and printed in1881, where the altitudes i.e. the above sea levels, was marked with meters. In 1894, The Ministry of Finance at Cetinje, has issued The Guidelines for Surface Measuring. Development of the trade with the surrounding countries where the metric system was used, have significantly influenced the legislative regulations of the application of the metric system in Montenegro. After the legislative introduction of the metric system in Montenegro, in certain towns the prices were immediately regulated according to the metric system, which was also introduced into the primary school textbooks. However, according to the Guidelines for Surface Measuring, certain units which didn't belong to the metric system were used. Thus, plough and scythe were used as surface area units, while cubit was used for length.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, on the 11th of November, 1903, for the purpose of control of the metric system implementation in Montenegro, issued the Regulations on measures and measuring, according to which, merchants using their own measures, were obliged to submit their measures to the annual control, once the municipal governance decide. The projected control of the measures was done by a special committee comprised of one municipal governance commissioner, one clerk and one expert appointed by the municipal governance.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has also announced Proclamation of the 25th of May 1906, where, according to the law regulating town municipalities, these authorities are obliged to "to supervise if the measures are correct and to control them, hence they are obliged to put a signet on it." Based on the Decree on jurisdiction of the administrative authorities, "usage of the wrong measures" at the countryside, was under the supervision of the rural serfs and captains of the tribes. Penalties were provided for the contempt of the given regulations: fines, confiscation of goods, permanent or temporary bans from conducting the activities, imprisonment.

The application of the measurements system in the region has been regulated by regulations since the time of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, through the ex-Yugoslavian federation after the Second World War, until the contemporary Montenegro.

In 1919, in the Kingdom of SCS, there was formed a department for measures and measurements, with headquarters in Belgrade, which as the main objective had "measures law enforcement and execution of other laws and regulations." The Department for Measures and Measurements was a foundation for the various future kinds of centralized metrological institution.

In the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the state functions in the field of metrology were executed by the Bureau for Measures and Precious Metals, with its headquarters in Belgrade, while in Podgorica, there was one out of the eight bureau's branch units – The Control of measures and Precious Metals (formed at the beginning of '60s). The rudimentary tasks of The Control of measures and Precious Metals Podgorica were: examination s of the national standards and measuring instruments, surveillance and verification of the measuring instruments, ensuring that all the requirements laid down for the examination of the measuring instruments at requesters are fulfilled, obtaining the professional support, issuing the certificates on accuracy of the measuring instruments, investigation and verification of precious metals articles, defining conditions for issuing decision on the mark of a manufacturer, as well as the metrological surveillance.

The Control of the Measures and Precious Metals – Podgorica, has realized necessary metrological activities until the foundation of te Metrology Center, on the 17th of July, 2006.