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THE HISTORY OF METROLOGY IN SLOVENIA

On the Slovene territory, metrology has a long-lasting and rich tradition. Measurements of mass, length, volume and time have been very important here since prehistoric times, and the archaeological findings bear witness to this. During classical antiquity, the Constantinople period, and later, both army and commercial routes lead across the Slovene territory, and this meant goods exchange as well as the related metrological activities. During the Middle Ages and the late Middle Ages, these activities were poorly organised, and their regulation was in the hands individual local authorities. A similar situation as in Slovenia was throughout Europe.

During her reign of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Empress Maria Theresa introduced such order into metrology which was exemplary for that time. Thanks to this order, Slovenia obtained a regulated metrology system as early as the 18th century. In her "Patent Act" of 1777, the Empress gave precise orders as to the type of measuring instruments that could be used, and how and where they should be verified. Thus a regulated metrology system had existed on the Slovene territory some 100 years before the signing of the Metre Convention . Besides measures and units of measurement, care had also been taken of the appropriate control and marking of precious metals.

 

 

Punishing bakers in the 16th century shows how rich were the metrological activities on our territory and how severe were punishments when these rules were broken. Bakers whose bread was too light, were first imposed a fine and then publicly plunged into the river, and finally withdrawn their trading licence.

For the control of trading transactions in Ljubljana, a municipal weighing instrument was installed on Breg by the Ljubljanica river, on which the goods brought in to the municipal warehouse were weighed.

After the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918, the introduction and development of metrology on the territory of Slovenia continued within the scope of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which also had a regulated metrology system. Soon after the establishment of the state, a Decree of the National Government was issued and published in the Official Gazette no.11 of 21 November 1918, on transitional administration, which included metrology.

Since then, metrology in Slovenia was regulated by the decrees issued within the framework of the SHS Kingdom, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and after WW II, the new Yugoslavia. Although, at that time, a centralised metrology system based in Belgrade was in force, Slovenia took an active part in managing this area. At that time, the field of precious metals was managed in the same way as metrology.

When in 1991, Slovenia became an independent state, the only institution active in the field of metrology was the Slovene Society of Measuring and Processing Technology. Today, the Society is active within the Association of Engineers and Technicians of Slovenia, dealing mainly with education and organisation of conferences of experts.

In the same year, the Standards and Metrology Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (SMIS) was established within the Ministry of Science and Technology. SMIS assumed the responsibility of setting up the Slovenian metrology system, as well as the national standardisation and accreditation services. In accordance with the needs and capabilities of Slovenia, SMIS has built a distributed metrology system. Its positioning under the Ministry of Science and Technology was not a coincidence, however: it met the demanding technical and scientific challenges and tasks of metrology to the greatest possible extent. Later, this decision turned out to be extremely appropriate.

In 2001, a reorganisation of the Slovenian civil service took place. Besides, the activity of SMIS was reorganised following the European principles. By separating Standardisation and Accreditation from SMIS, the latter was restructured under the scope of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, into the Metrology Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (MIRS), which continues its work in the field of metrology as the Slovenian national metrology institution.