News Update and some History

EQM 4/2019 was the last sent out from the UK, because of changes in the way we operate. From 2020 the magazine should be obtained directly from ISASC USA. It has some marvellous colour photos, and some brilliant articles : Andrew Crawforth's 'A Different Oval Japanned Box' discusses a fascinating clue in the inscription on an English 18th-century coin scale box - 'ready rhino' in the slang context of money. The Scale Queen brand from the States is evoked in photos and documents, and Guido Zavattoni's wonderful catalogue of coin weights (Part 4) receives a favourable review.Thomas Voce's 19th-century Birmingham (England) output of sovereign rocker scales is covered in thorough and academic detail by one of the world's leading experts on the type.

EQM 3/2019 including AGM papers was despatched with verve and aplomb on 23rd September 2019, one month before our projected 2019 AGM. The cover photo is of a miniature Roberval scale made by James Templar Shenston (1801-1846), who is the subject of the major article by Diana C-H and Gregg M. This contains a full review of Shenston's career and design quirks, including the '395 Strand' London address on much of his output. There follows a sound technical dissection of egg-weighing machines in 20th-Century UK, a beautifully-photographed expostion of a red plastic '2-Gram Scale' bought in Hillsboro, Oregon; and some important additions to the knowledge we have of William Blews & Sons, a firm making sovereign rocker scales in Birmingham, England in the 19th century.

A grand meeting for 20 members and guests occurred at the Rural Scales and Weights Museum on 21st July. Read the full report in Fulcrum !

EQM 2/2019 was posted on 4th July 2019.

EQM 1/2019 went out on 21st March 2019. EQM 4/2018 was posted from our Norfolk UK distribution nexus on Monday 17th December 2018.

EQM 3 of 2018 contains a major article from Andre S on The Celler Egg Sorting Scale, Part 4 of Jan B's survey of letter opener scales, and two stunning back-page photos of members' collections on display.

EQM 2 of 2018 was posted on 19th June from UK. The front cover photo features a penny-weighing machine from Continental Scale Works in Chicago, comprising brass steelyard, bucket and folding tripod. The articles inside comprise 'McGiehan's Unique Postal', 'Rikkers Airmail Letter Scale', 'Mordan Style Sovereign Rockers', 'Letter Opener Scales', 'From the Collection of...' and an 'Old Advert' from the firm of Wrigley of Chicago (yes the famous chewing-gum people). The colour photos and illustrations are both informative and great to look at!

Issue 1 in March 2018 had a stunning colour photo on the cover and more inside, pages 4441-4468 contain some interesting USA Mint scales noted almost fortuitously by Thomas A, a wonderful article on chondrometers / grain weighing scales by Diana C-H, with a full treatment of the Scottish firm of Alexander Adie & Son, A Special Swedish Letter Scale described by Andre S and Roland O, Part 2 of Jan B's Letter Opening Scales and a really lovely item from Bill and Jan's collection in the form of a Troemner solder balance from the early 1900s.

Sharp-eyed readers will note that I've redacted some surnames above, because the European Chapter is currently working towards the European General Data Protection Regulation, coming into legal force on 25th May 2018. We're already data-aware, but expect some email and written communications soon about how the Society holds and processes your personal data, even if you're outside the geographical area of Europe.

As you may recall, our 2017 AGM was deferred because of insufficient members attending. In the last mailing of 2017 there was included a postal ballot to determine the business we need to transact for the sake of good governance. The result of this was that 28 members in good standing, and therefore a quorum, agreed to accept the business and the resolutions on the agenda. The amended Constitution has now been posted on this website. We had also set the date for a Summer meeting on Sunday 15th July 2018 at which it was possible to conclude the business of the deferred AGM. Officers remain the same, the accounts were accepted and there was no change to subscription rates.

Our Autumn meeting took place in the English Midlands on 8th October 2017, and we heard excellent talks on the 'Beale balance' (perhaps the earliest extant of Ludwig Oertling's scientific scales) and Barge Weighing and Gauging on British Canals - see here for an article derived from this latter presentation.

2016 brought the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the Society. We celebrated in a number of ways, particularly with our high-quality publication Equilibrium. Please consider sharing your knowledge by sending an article (with photos) to our hard-working Editor.

Previous meetings:

July 2017 saw a visit to the Rural Scales and Weights Museum again, where 11 members and guests were able to take in the magnitude of the magnificent collection housed here. Read more about it in Fulcrum !

Our 2016 AGM celebrated the 40 years of the Society, and also updated members on the Avery Museum and the Science Museum developments. Further details are in Fulcrum !

A meeting was held again at the Rural Scales & Weights Museum in 2016.

In July 2015 members and guests attended an informal gathering courtesy of the Rural Scales and Weights Museum - old friends and a wonderful setting.

In early July 2015 another important auction took place at Stroud Auctions. Details of items sold and prices achieved were available electronically from the auction website for a short period - an area of great interest!

On Sunday 14th June 2015 we held a meeting in the depths of the English countryside and heard about some fascinating old items which members have collected, as well as new and interesting lines of research such as the digitisation of the photographic Jenemann archive. After a hearty traditional lunch members adjourned to a nearby house where one of the premier collections in the UK is kept. Many thanks to those organising and hosting the meeting.

Our yearly AGM for 2014 took place in Warwickshire in October and was a very enjoyable occasion. The theme of our display and talks was 'The Healthy Weigh' and covered Person Weighers for adults and babies, as well as weighing precisely for pharmaceutical research. Barry Oliver spoke with authority on both aspects of the subject, and others such as Peter Elliott and John Wintour were able to exhibit beautifully-restored examples of the artefacts themselves. These demonstrated the technology and workmanship of designers and manufacturers from 19th and 20th centuries. They also provided a web of social history illuminating the context in which the machines were used. Read more in Fulcrum !

Following the very successful Informal midweek meeting in July 2013, about 25 members returned to Gloucestershire for a get-together in July 2014. The weather was favourable, and everyone enjoyed the lunch and refereshments provided. Read more in Fulcrum !

Stroud Auction Rooms held a very interesting auction on 9th and 10th July featuring many Local Standards from Gloucestershire County Council and other nearby areas. Online catalogue for more details from http:/ giving details and prices realised of lots sold.

The auction held by Sworders including the Brian Brass Collection in June 2013 was also a great success.

Following that, in October, our AGM and main meeting was held near Warwick. Some fascinating talks, an update on the situation at the Avery Historical Museum and a superb hot carvery lunch made for an enjoyable day!

    The meeting at Alvington on 17th July 2012 was a great success, despite the unkind weather. Short report and photos in the August 2012 Fulcrum, available now from the Fulcrum page on this website.

    An auction of great interest to members took place on Wednesday 9th May 2012 at Stroud Auctions in Gloucestershire UK. It featured items from the collection of the late Gordon Meek, a member of the Society. Around 100 lots of weights and a similar number of scales were offered, and the take-up was almost 100%. There is now a link to this and other auction house sites at the foot of our 'Links' page.

    Our April 2012 meeting was a great success, and some reports and other wonderful material appear in the May edition of Fulcrum, available on this website now. Please go to the Fulcrum page by clicking on the link at the left of this screen.

    Sunday October 23rd 2011 Our AGM was accompanied by displays and talks on scales and weights of the Georgian period. 35 members old and new came to swap collecting tales, buy and sell and catch up through personal contact. See the Fulcrum page for a full-colour copy of our newsletter and a report!

    Sunday April 17th 2011 One of our established venues in Leicestershire was the scene for an excellent meeting with a great atmosphere. Members trekked from Cornwall, Kent, East Anglia, Scarborough and points near and far to enjoy some fascinating information exchange and a fulsome lunch. The full report appears in the May 2011 edition of Fulcrum!

    Sunday October 10th 2010 The AGM with an excellent lunch in Kegworth, Notts, England. We had visitors from as far afield as Chicago USA, and a wonderful 'Dramatic Presentation' by Andrew Lound of the Avery Weigh-Tronix Historical Museum on the topic of 'Victorian Scales / W&T Avery and the part they played'. Catch up with the report in the November 2010 edition of Fulcrum!

    Sunday July 4th 2010 A full day with an excellent lunch at Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire, England on the topic of 'Non-Metropolitan Scales, Weights and their makers'. Some lovely displays, intriguing items on slides and 'in the flesh'- catch up with the report in the August 2010 edition of Fulcrum

    Sunday April 18th 2010 A great meeting near Lydney in beautiful Gloucestershire - see the report and photos in the May 2010 edition of Fulcrum

    2009 Autumn Meeting and AGM
    Sunday 11th October 2009

    Held at the
    Best Western Yew Lodge Hotel
    Packington Hill
    Kegworth DE74 2DT
    Tel 01509 67472

    The theme of the meeting was London Scalemakers. Two main presentations covered aspects of the way the trade altered in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period the highly-regulated system of master-and-apprentices was transformed into a more diverse system with large and small firms competing in a free market. Barry Oliver gave a most interesting talk on The inter-relationships between De Grave, Oertling and W.A.Webb, and Jenny Hutchinson gave an excellently-researched audiovisual presentation on Thomas Williams and his clan. In addition our Information Officer, Diana Crawforth-Hitchins, presented an exhibition of coin scales from London, and gave a short talk explaining how they can be dated by looking at the trade labels.

    Members also gave 10-minute 'show and tell' presentations related to the general theme of the meeting.

    2009 Spring Meeting
    Sunday 5th April 2009
    Held at the The Charnwood Arms Hotel, Bardon Hill, Coalville LE67 1TB

    The theme of the meeting was Coin and Bullion scales and weights, and the speakers included Jaap Visser and Howard Simmons.

    2008 Autumn Meeting and AGM
    Sunday 12th October 2008

    Held at the

    Best Western Yew Lodge Hotel
    Packington Hill
    Kegworth DE74 2DT
    Tel 01509 67472

    2008 Summer Meeting
    The summer get-together was at The Royal Arms, Sutton Cheney with tea back at Lindridge. The date was Wednesday 15th July.

    2008 Spring Meeting
    19th and 20th April 2008 (Liverpool).

    2007 Summer Meeting
    Held on Wednesday 11th July 2007, at: The Royal Arms, Sutton Cheney,CV13 0AG

    2007 Spring Meeting
    Held at the Yew Lodge Hotel, Kegworth on Sunday 22nd April 2007.

    This meeting was in the Yew Tree Lodge - a fine new venue for ISASC. The main theme of the meeting was 'Inspectors' scales and weights'. Many members bought items for display, with a fine assortment of Standard Weights and Measures, and some Inspectors' Balances. Amongst the weights and measures, Yorkshire was well represented, with some exceptional measures (including pre-Imperial ones) from Hang East & West, Lepton, Shepley and Bradford, and a full set of Globe weights from Ossett. The other side of the Pennines was also represented, with an unusual set of Pooley standard weights from Liverpool, measures from Manchester and Blackburn, and some amazing Tombstone measures from 'Hundred of Wirrall' (sic) and Macclesfield. This was much better than a museum, as you could (carefully!) handle the exhibits - indeed there were some for sale, for example a full set standard bell weights from Norfolk, a nice set of bronze measures from Suffolk, and a nice standard bell weight from Bucks. The meeting was treated to an interesting talk by John Knights and John Cheesman, mainly about their memories of their lives as Weights and Measures inspectors, which was very well received. After lunch there was a 'Show and Tell', with the two Johns being reinforced by Norman Biggs and Diana Crawforth-Hitchins. Running through the day were a couple of 'guess the weight' competitions, and a weights & measures quiz, which kept the members entertained. A big thank-you to all the members who made this event possible.

    2006 Autumn Meeting and AGM
    The Autumn meeting was on Sunday 8th October at:
    The Falcon Hotel,Stratford upon Avon

    The W&T Avery Ltd Theme

    Apart from the formalities of the AGM, members presented displays of the more exotic and unusual scales made by that longstanding and prolific scale-maker W & T Avery (later W & T Avery Ltd) of Birmingham. This generated tremendous interest and the meeting literally hummed with chat as experts and novices discussed finer points.

    During a question and answer session Jack White, in his own inimitable way, demonstrated how the positioning of the fulcrum knife-edges and bearings of a Roberval scale determined the accuracy and sensitivity especially where verification was necessary.

    Afterwards, Albert Rangeley spoke to point out how Jack had proved that Mordan scales had a flawed design feature that precluded them being sufficiently accurate and sensitive to pass rigid verification requirements. He referred to them, in a disparaging way, as 'gilt toys' which is the term often used in old trade directories to describe such products.

    Nevertheless Albert exhibited a truly wonderful display of the most attractive and ornate Mordan scales that drew a lot of attention from the ladies present at the meeting. All the examples displayed by Albert were immaculate with original gilding and correct weights.

    Noel Scarratt displayed an immaculate, gleaming, and very rare Avery turret scale together with a pristine set of nine porcelain Avery weights from 7lb down to 1oz. Two Avery bread scales and three elegant globe weights were also included in Noel's display. Gerry Chellingworth had on show a very early Avery Beam Scale and a rare early Avery Stilliard - both were snapped up on the day by eager collectors. Diana Crawforth-Hitchins had extracted some interesting Avery examples from her extensive collection and was busy throughout the day dealing with queries as they arose.

    Altogether an interesting, and often fascinating, day. Rewarding too for the lucky purchasers but for all undoubtedly a memorable day.

    Ken Govier
    January 2007
    2006 Summer Meeting
    Held on Wednesday 12th July 2006, from 10am onwards, at:
    The Royal Arms, Sutton Cheney CV13 0AG

    2006 Spring Meeting
    Held on Sunday 2nd April at the Charnwood Arms Hotel,Coalville,Leicestershire LE67 1TB

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    All rights reserved ------ Last updated 9th January 2020