1927年，美国土壤学家C. F. Shaw在《A Glossary of Soil Terms》中介绍过一种手测质地方法，如下：
Sand is loose and single-grained. The individual grains can readily be seen or felt.
A sandy loam is a soil containing much sand but which has enough silt and clay to make it somewhat coherent. The individual sand grains can readily be seen and felt. Squeezed when dry, it will form a cast which will readily fall apart, but if squeezed when moist a cast can be formed that will bear careful handling whithout breaking
A loam is a soil having a relatively even mixture of the different grades of sand and of silt and clay. It is mellow with a somewhat gritty feel, yet fairly smooth and slightly plastic. Squeezed when dry, it will form a cast that will bear careful handling, while the cast formed by squeezing the moist soil can be handled quite freely without breaking.
A silt loam is a soil having a moderate amount of the fine grades of sand and only a small amount of clay, over half of the particles being of the size called "silt". when dry it may appear quite cloddy but the lumps can be readily broken, and when pulverized it feels soft and floury. When wet the soil readily runs together. Either dry or moist it will form casts that can be freely handled without breaking, but when moistened and squeezed between thumb and finger it will not "ribbon" but will give a broken appearance.
A clay loam is a fine textured soil which usually breaks into clods or lumps that are hard when dry. When the moist soil is pinched between the thumb and finger it will form a thin "ribbon” which will break readily, barely sustaining its own weight. The moist soil is plastic and will form a cast that will bear much handling. When kneaded in the hand it does not crumble readily but tends to work into a heavy compact mass.
A clay is a fine textured soil that usually forms very hard lumps or clods when dry and is quite plastic and usually sticky when wet. When the moist soil is pinched out between the thumb and fingers it will form a long, flexible “ribbon". Some fine clays very high in colloids are friable and lack plasticity in all conditions of moisture.