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Tomolo - Wooden Roman Measurer

Tomoli in Gambatesa were of two kinds: the stone tomolo and one made of wood stock.  The stone tomolo was used to measure both oil and wheat (and other things); the wooden bucket was used for measuring wheat.  But the stone and wood tomoli used the same unit of measurement (Both the standard unit and the measurer based on that unit are called the tomolo).

A wooden tomolo, formerly used in Gambatesa, 35 KB

In the dialect of Gambatesa the word for il tomolo is u tumel[e] or u tomel[e].  The unit of measurement itself dates back at least to the time of the ancient Romans, and there are stone tomoli in old Roman cities in North Africa, and Angelo has seen one in the central part of the village of Gruyère, Switzerland.

The stone tomolo was filled from the top: they filled it up and then opened a hole at the side; they used something like a cork to close the hole.  But there were no exit holes in the wooden bucket that was used for measuring wheat: they filled it and then turned it over to empty it.

Wooden buckets like this were used in Gambatesa until the end of the 1950s ('58 or '60).  Angelo's mother's apprenticeship as seamstress was paid for in wheat measured this way.  The buckets were actually two units in one: if you turn the bucket over, there is a smaller unit; that unit was for interest paid.

Wooden tomolo, view from the top, 28 KB

Wooden tomolo, view from the bottom, 33 KB

Photographs by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva), August 2004


The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/wdtomolo.html
Last revised: 12 September 2005 : 2005-09-12 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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