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# One pound of gold vs 1 pound of feathers?

Updated: 8/10/2023

Wiki User

11y ago

While on the face of it a pound of feathers would seem to weigh the same as a pound of gold, this overlooks the fact that gold is universally weighed using a different definition of 'pound' than that used for most other materials.

Precious metals such as gold are measured in troy weight. A troy pound is 12 troy ounces, and each troy ounce is 480 grains, making a total of 5760 grains to the pound of gold.

Most materials use pounds and ounces from the avoirdupois system, and such a standard pound is made up of 16 ounces, where each ounce is 437.5 grains, making a total of 7000 grains to the pound of feathers.

All this means that a "pound" of feathers (or bricks, or lead) is heavier than a "pound" of gold.

The question is an old gag, based on the fact that gold is measured in troy ounces, but feathers (like all material other than precious metals and gemstones) are measured in avoirdupois ounces. Because troy weight has 12 ounces to a pound, but avoirdupois weight has 16 ounces to a pound, the trick answer is that a pound of feathers (at 16 ounces) is heavier than a pound of gold (at 12 ounces).

Another user said:

A pound of anything weighs the same as a pound of anything else.

However, feathers as weighed using imperial weight, which puts 16 ounces to the pound. Gold is weighed using troy weights (for precious metals) which has 12 ounces to the pound.

So a pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of gold, since different pounds are spoken of.

Another user said:

A pound of feathers is heavier- because a pound is NOT always a pound. Gold, silver, platinum- and all precious metals are measured in TROY ounces and TROY pounds. A troy pound weighs less than a standard (avoirdupois) pound.

Wiki User

9y ago

Wiki User

11y ago

This is a favoured trick question of teachers since time immemorial, the joke is of course that they both weigh a pound, so they both weigh the same.

The pounds and ounces that are used to weigh gold are a different size from those used for everyday objects like feathers.

Gold, along with other precious metal and gems, is weighed in "Troy" ounces, everything else is weighed in avoirdupois ounces. A troy ounce is bigger than a normal ounce. Troy ounces weigh 31.10 grams, whereas an avoirdupois ounce weighs 28.35 grams.

This means an ounce of gold is heavier than an ounce of feathers by 2.75 grams.

But, while there are sixteen ounces in an avoirdupois pound, there are only twelve ounces in a troy pound.

This means that a pound of feathers weighs 454 grams, and a pound of gold weighs 373 grams. So that the pound of feathers is 81 grams heavier than the pound of gold.

Wiki User

8y ago

Actually, this is one of the very few instances where a pound is NOT a pound. Gold, silver, platinum, and all precious metals are measured in Troy ounces and troy pounds. Common materials- feathers, sugar, soap- are measured in avoirdupois ounces and pounds. There are 12 troy ounces per troy pound, rather than the 16 ounces per pound found in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce is 480 grains, compared with the avoirdupois ounce, which is 437 1â„2 grains. A pound of feathers is heavier than a pound of gold. Don't expect anyone but a jeweler or dealer in precious metals to know this.

Wiki User

13y ago

They both weigh the same - one pound!

(Only, the volume of the feathers is greater than the volume of the gold)

Wiki User

14y ago

Neither of the two weigh more...both weigh 1-pound. Granted you'd have way more feathers than gold, a pound of gold and a pound of feathers would weigh the same.

Wiki User

12y ago

Wiki User

8y ago

They both weigh the same. But the feathers would take up a lot more space than the gold.

Anonymous

Lvl 1
2y ago

pound of feathers