Antique assay balance; includes weight set and extras

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  • Item Category: Tools
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Oct 30,2007
  • Channel: Online Auction

Thisbalance was made of Belgian Congo Mahogany, about the turn of the century, bythe Thompson Balance Co. of Denver, Colorado , under a patent granted November 23, 1897 . It was constructed of the fine grade of Belgian Congo Mahogany that was commonly used to make the precision instruments of its day. It includes two 6.5" wide x 2.5" high x 5.25" deep drawers with black handles under the balance platform that contain the weights and extra tools. The balance consists of two 3" pans with a 6" precision balance beam supported on a lacquered brass pedestal that is 8" tall. Bearings on the balance beam are sharpened steel wedges that rest on polished agate flats. Bearings at the ends of the balance beam are of the same materials. Weighing was done by placing the unknown on the left pan and balancing it out with precision weights that were placed on the right pan. Fractions of weight below the mass marked on the individual weights were determined by counting the swings of the pendulum indicator and pro-rating the weight based on calibration procedures. This scale has a weighing capacity of about 200 grams.

The balance came from the assay shop of a small mining town that was north-west of Canyon City , Colorado . The town was abandoned by the latter part of the depression and sat idle for years. The town was purchased for salvage after World War II by a friend. The current owner was invited to visit the salvager at his home about thirty years ago and purchased the scale for his own collection.

This balance consists of the balance itself, and a set of precision lacquered brass weights that are housed in a velvet lined mahogany case. The balance also contains four glass feet that were placed between the table and the adjusting screws under the balance. It also includes tools to measure specific gravity and other accessories (see photos).

Materials included in the weight set are: 50g, 20g, two 10g, 5g, two 2g, 1g lacquered brass weights, and 500mg, 200mg, two 100mg, 50mg, two 20mg, two 10mg, 5mg, 2mg, three 1mg flat weights made of a white metal. The small flat weights are held in a black molded container which is covered by a glass lid and lies in front of the velvet. The front of the case holds a brass tweezers with ivory tips that was used to place the weights on the balance pan.

Other equipment includes: a 5 A.T. (assay ton) lacquered brass weight, two glass weighing dishes (that look like watch glasses), glass weighing bottle with precision ground glass fitting lid, special wire for specific gravity weighing, specific gravity float, one 50 ml beaker with a small chip in the lip which has been fire polished, one miniature glass weighing flask that contains a note that it weighs 24.230 grams, a mahogany bench to support the beaker over the weighing platform when specific gravity measurements are made, a small brush for cleaning, and a miniature chemical scoop that looks like an old fashioned long handled shovel.

This antique has been very well kept, is incredibly clean, and is fully functional. The polished mahogany case is in excellent shape showing wear at the front of the weighing platform. Internal lacquer is faded with minimal scratches and abrasion. The front window stays up when placed up, and is easily mobile. All glass windows are original. All threaded components move with ease and are properly lubricated. I had the balance checked over by a scale expert and he pronounced it in good condition. The knob located in the front of the balance, which raises the balance beam from its supports in order to weigh, has been tarnished by the many hands which have used the scale. This tarnish affects its appearance, but not its function.

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