Collecting and refurbishing antique platform scales has become a huge hobby in recent years. With the advent of electronic scales, the mechanical scales are becoming technologically outdated, and while this may be sad from a certain perspective, it also makes these wonderful old pieces of equipment collectible. Like many items from a bygone era, they now stand as landmarks on the road to modern technology as well as fascinating decorative pieces that can bring a touch of color and interest to a home. However, many antique platform scales still work and can be used in the home or business.
Antique platform scales are a window on the past. They were essential for the development of modern commerce, science and industry, and were used as literary symbols of justice and equality. Some of them were obviously designed with appearance in mind, and they had a style and elegance all their own. Many of the basic concepts on which civilization was built, such as standardized measures, rates of economic exchange and even money itself were born out of the ability to measure things precisely and establish uniform values for specific weights.
Regarded in this way, it is easy to understand the current fascination with these scales. Antique scale enthusiasts see them as benchmarks in the rise of civilization, the devices our ancestors used to measure and trade the commodities in their lives. The development of springs, counterweights, beams and levers paralleled the growth of technology in the whole society, following the Industrial Revolution into realms of greater precision and complexity.
An illustration of this is the development of the platform scale. Early scales were beam devices in which the counterweight and the object being weighed were suspended from an arm by hooks or chains. This works fine for measuring relatively small weights, but with the growth of commerce from the village to the national and international level, larger weighing devices were needed. This prompted the invention of scales with flat surfaces to hold large amounts of commodities, what we now call platform scales.
While scales may have been invented out of utilitarian need, people soon discovered that they could be used for fun, too. One of the side effects of the Industrial Revolution was the development of coin-operated devices for many purposes, and soon many public places had platform scales where people could weigh themselves at the drop of a coin. Some of these scales were lavishly decorated and are now much-coveted collectors’ items.
Old-style scales were purely mechanical and had no electrical parts, so they had a lifespan that we seldom see in today’s high-tech devices. Many antique platform scales made in the 19th century are still usable today and are sometimes used to bring a touch of retro charm to a kitchen or small business.
Considering how attractive, interesting and serviceable antique platform scales are, it’s no surprise that the fascination with them is growing all the time. For more information on antique platform scales, contact BrightScale today.