| Length/Distance |
Convert from ell [English] to cable [U.S.]
Common Length Conversions
Metric Length Conversions
Unit Definition (ell [English])
The El (or Ell) is a traditional unit of length used primarily for measuring cloth. In the English system, one ell equals 20 nails, 45 inches, or 1.25 yards (exactly 1.143 meters). The word comes from the Latin ulna, which originally meant the elbow and is now the name of the bone on the outside of the forearm. The history of the unit is not clear. Some authorities believe the ell was originally a double forearm length, that is, 2 cubits or 36 inches, the same length as a yard. The ell and the yard do seem to be identified in some medieval documents, with ulna being used for both, and in Scotland the ell was equal to 37 Scots inches or 37.2 English inches (94.5 centimeters), only slightly longer than the yard. (This Scottish length might also reflect an old practice of cloth merchants in giving an extra inch with each yard, to allow for any irregular cutting at the ends of the piece.) However, the English cloth ell is definitely longer than the yard; it seems to be the distance from the shoulder to the fingers of the opposite hand. This reflects a practice of cloth merchants of holding the cloth at the shoulder with one hand and pulling the piece through with the opposite hand. This cloth ell was used with a similar length in France, where it was called the aune. The Dutch el and German elle are a little more than half the English ell; they may represent "arm's-length" units like the Italian braccio, the Russian sadzhen, and the Turkish pik
Unit Definition (cable [U.S.])
The cable is a unit of distance formerly used at sea. The traditional U.S. cable was equal to 120 fathoms, 720 feet, 0.1185 nautical mile, or about 219.4 meters. The British Admiralty, in 1830, defined the cable to equal exactly 0.1 nautical (Admiralty) mile, which is 608 feet or about 185.3 meters. The cable is also sometimes now defined as a metric cable, which is equal to exactly 200 meters.