Monday, May 14, 2018

Baker’s Dozen


BAKER’S DOZEN
Why Number “13” is called “Baker’s Dozen”
Origin of the Term
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Have you heard of the term “Baker’s Dozen”…?

The first time I heard the expression “Baker’s Dozen” was while playing Tambola – when the Number “13” was referred to as “Baker’s Dozen”.

It may be apocryphal – but the origin of the term goes way back to ancient times.

In ancient times – bakers were subject to severe penalties for short-weighting their customers.

In ancient Egypt – bakers were sometimes nailed by the ear to the doors of their shops if they were caught selling light loaves.

In 1266 – English Parliament passed a law subjecting Bakers to strict regulations regarding bread weight.

The bakers had to strictly comply with this law on ensuring proper bread weight.

Bakers who were found to be “cheating” their customers by selling underweight bread were subject to strict punishment, including fines or flogging.

At that time – it was difficult to make bread loaves of a precise uniform weight.

So – the bakers customarily added a 13th loaf to each box of a dozen (12) loaves they sent to the shopkeepers who sold the bread to customers.

Since the price of bread was linked to the price of wheat – the law regulated the weight of bread – not the number of loaves in the box.

This thirteenth loaf would ensure that the box of dozen loaves was not below the prescribed weight.

Thus – customarily – in a “Dozen” Box of bread sent by the bakers – there would be 13 loaves (Baker’s Dozen).

Probably – this is the origin of the expression “Baker’s Dozen” for the number Thirteen (13).

Dear Reader: Do you know of any other reasons for the term “Baker’s Dozen”...?
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