Check Your Brick

Ensconced in the wall of the medieval ‘city hall’ of Assisi, Italy (a town more famous for being the home of Saint Francis), is an interesting thing: the standardized sizes of bricks, roof tiles, and other measurements. If you thought someone from whom you were buying bricks was shorting you, you could bring one of the bricks here and check it against the standard; so, too, your roof tiles or lengths of cloth. As always, it’s buyer beware; and, as it should be, good government helps keep things just.