In the early twentieth century, with Esperanto and the like going on, a small movement called "dozenalism" began, with the aim of replacing base 10 with the purportedly more natural base 12. When I was in high school it was something nerdy kids would talk about. The argument is 10 has as non-trivial factors only 2 and 5, whereas 12 has 2, 3, 4 and 6, and we should prefer smaller divisors, since division by these numbers will occur more frequently. Okay, but the only reason I can see for being interested in divisors is to have more numbers, or more frequently used numbers, with terminating expansions. But this is determined only by the prime factors of the base. So why was base 12 be preferred to base 6 or base 30 having the n smallest prime factors for some n?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Because it is closest to ten. "Given the proper intellectual climate, people could transition from thinking in tens to thinking in twelves without too much difficulty, compared to moving to a system such as sexagesimal", Hexnet, An Argument For Dozenalism. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Nov 19, 2022 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ At the that time, some people were very comfortable with base 12 systems in everyday life: 12 inches in a foot & 12 pennies in a shilling - both initially British based systems. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2022 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred also 12 hours in AM and PM for time. $\endgroup$
    – KCd
    Nov 22, 2022 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold You should post an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Nov 25, 2022 at 18:41


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