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gary350
12-17-2010, 08:45 PM
OK there are 3 questions.

What is the real name of this?

What was it used for?

About when was it invented?

http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/4/2/4/1/5/1/webimg/306806429_tp.jpg

Tony Ennis
12-17-2010, 08:51 PM
It's a scale.

Evan
12-17-2010, 08:52 PM
It's a balance.

tdmidget
12-17-2010, 08:54 PM
A steelyard. First commercial use I believe was weighing cotton and other agricultural commodities. Invented, who's to say? It uses the same principles as any other balance type weighing device, but I would say around 1800.
That is undoubtedly the oldest I've ever seen. I recall them in use when I was a kid.

gary350
12-17-2010, 09:07 PM
A steelyard. First commercial use I believe was weighing cotton and other agricultural commodities. Invented, who's to say? It uses the same principles as any other balance type weighing device, but I would say around 1800.
That is undoubtedly the oldest I've ever seen. I recall them in use when I was a kid.


You are correct.

This is a hanging type gravity balance scale. They were used from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. Very often use to weigh cotton. Used on the farm to weight crops that were hand picked by workers. Also use to weight items for sale in the farmers market.

Luke55
12-17-2010, 09:10 PM
around here we call this a roman scale

tdmidget
12-17-2010, 09:11 PM
Where did you find one that old, and complete? looks to be entirely hand made by a blacksmith.

tdmidget
12-17-2010, 09:14 PM
Luke, I checked Google maps, but can't locate "around here".

Ken_Shea
12-17-2010, 09:16 PM
around here we call this a roman scale
Could be because it was invented by the Romans in the first Century, called a Statera or Steelyard.

The reason I know this is because I found it on the internet :D

But that's pretty close to the 1800's

GKman
12-17-2010, 09:25 PM
Sorry. Any fifth grader will tell you it's jewelry.

Evan
12-17-2010, 09:28 PM
It isn't a scale, it's a balance. A scale changes it's reading if gravity changes, a balance doesn't. Incidentally that is why gold, diamonds etc are weighed with a balance. The difference between the apparent gravity in Amsterdam and Mexico city is about one half percent.

gary350
12-17-2010, 09:44 PM
Where did you find one that old, and complete? looks to be entirely hand made by a blacksmith.

Here is one for sale.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-CAST-IRON-HANGING-SCALE-STILLYARD-WEIGHT-/360199581419?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53dd916eeb

tdmidget
12-17-2010, 09:49 PM
Looks familiar. Doesn't seem terribly appreciated judging from the current high bid.

Bill736
12-17-2010, 10:22 PM
Despite some minor differences, we all got it essentially correct. I assume that we are therefore at least as smart as a 5th. grader.
Recalling my own daughter's mental development, at the age of 7 she once said " Gee dad, do you know everything?" When she became a teenager, she changed the question a bit to " Gee dad, don't you know anything?"

lynnl
12-17-2010, 11:51 PM
You are correct.

This is a hanging type gravity scale. They were used from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. Very often use to weigh cotton. Used on the farm to weight crops that were hand picked by workers. Also use to weight items for sale in the farmers market.

I was picking cotton (by hand) in the mid-late '50s, and oftentimes it was weighed on scales (I'll leave the nomenclature nit picking to Evan) like that. I grew up right at the end of an era. (Didn't every one? :) ) Just a few years later mechanical pickers were being used exclusively.

(correction)
Actually upon a closer look, that one is probably much older than the ones used around home. Those had a much flatter balance bar, and were curved on one end, like the letter J.

mike os
12-18-2010, 05:31 AM
not nit picking there is a fundamental difference between a scale & balance....

lynnl
12-18-2010, 10:34 AM
1) Most of the world call those things used to determine weights of objects or materials "scales."
2) Scales come in various forms: one being spring(s), another being a balance bar or beam, and there are probably others which aren't relevant to this discussion.



Back in the early 1800's old Thaddeus Fairbanks and his brother Erastus developed a real money maker in the form of a platform to weigh things accurately. It used the balance principle, but it was sold by the many thousands worldwide, as a "scale."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Fairbanks

Rustybolt
12-18-2010, 11:02 AM
A steel yard

For weighing

Other than the materials it's made from, the egyptians.Possibly even older.

Ken_Shea
12-18-2010, 11:08 AM
A steel yard

For weighing

Other than the materials it's made from, the egyptians.Possibly even older.
Better late then never Rusty :D

Although most seem convinced it is from the 1800 :)

Evan
12-18-2010, 12:57 PM
The term scale is inclusive of balance. The term balance is not inclusive of scale. If something is called a scale it may or may not operate on the balance principle but it must produce a scalar value output. If something is called a balance it must operate on the balance priciple. If it is called a balance scale then it must operate on the balance priciple and must produce a scalar value. The item in question in this thread is a balance and not a balance scale because it does not produce a scalar value as output, only balance.

Lew Hartswick
12-18-2010, 01:05 PM
The term scale is inclusive of balance. The term balance is not inclusive of scale. If something is called a scale it may or may not operate on the balance principle but it must produce a scalar value output. If something is called a balance it must operate on the balance priciple. If it is called a balance scale then it must operate on the balance priciple and must produce a scalar value. The item in question in this thread is a balance and not a balance scale because it does not produce a scalar value as output, only balance.
Now that is about as good a "nit" to pick as I've seen. :-)
I do like the concice terms. There is WAY too much of the old,
"You know what I mean" type of talking going on, not only in this
news group (board) but in the world in general.
...lew...

JCHannum
12-18-2010, 01:18 PM
The steelyard actually does produce a scalar output. The arm is graduated in units of weight and as the poise is moved along the arm, it falls into detents that are graduated to indicate the weight.

A balance would be a balance beam with individual pans for the object being weighed and individual poises to counterbalance them. The Scales of Justice are a good example of this system. Even they are referred to as scales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Justice

Barrington
12-18-2010, 01:36 PM
Just to stir the pot with some dictionary definitions...;)

The term 'scales' would seem to come from Old Norse 'skal' ('skel'?) meaning drinking bowl - i.e. it refers to the balance pans.

The term 'scalar' comes from the Late Latin 'scala' for ladder or staircase, leading to it's use in graduated markings.

i.e. There seems to be NO root connection between the terms 'scales' and 'scalar'...

Cheers :)

.

Evan
12-18-2010, 01:47 PM
The item in this thread is a Roman balance. It has no markings and is not a balance scale. The Steelyard is different in that it does have markings and detents.

Roman balance on the left and steelyard on the right

http://ixian.ca/pics8/balance1.jpg


The Scales of Justice are a good example of this system. Even they are referred to as scales.


Which is technically incorrect unless they also have a pointer to graduated marks. Some versions of the Lady of Justice do show such a balance scale and some do not and some are too symbolic to tell.

Evan
12-18-2010, 01:50 PM
There seems to be NO root connection between the terms 'scales' and 'scalar'...


So what? That doesn't alter the definition I gave. Try finding the root for the word Hob and figure out what it has to do with making gears.

It appears that you are incorrect. The root of both scale and scalar is the latin "Scala" or "Scalaris" meaning ladder or stairs.

JCHannum
12-18-2010, 02:12 PM
The item in the original posting is a photo of the steelyard on eBay linked to in a subsequent post. This is an enlargement of one of the photos in the listing clearly showing the detents on the beam which correspond to units of weight.

http://www.auctiva.com/hostedimages/showimage.aspx?gid=424151&image=306806369&images=306806289,306806340,306806369,306806394,306 806429,306806450,306806466,306806484,306806507&formats=0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0&format=0


I have what appears to be an identical steelyard which has the weight inscribed every 40 pounds, with one pound increments on one side, flip it over and it is calibrated every 4 pounds with one ounce increments. The second hook on the weigh end would be used for an additional poise when using the higher value scale.

Even the Roman "balance" would have a scale of some sort to indicate a weight value corresponding to the position of the poise.

My camera is visiting this week, so I cannot show a photo of the two steelyards I have, one as mentioned and another beautifully hand forged one, much larger.

Rustybolt
12-18-2010, 03:00 PM
OK. lets get into a spitting contest over this.

The question was, "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?"

It seems most of us are, but to my eighteen year old daughter I'm as dumb as a bag of doornobs.

Evan
12-18-2010, 03:49 PM
Even the Roman "balance" would have a scale of some sort to indicate a weight value corresponding to the position of the poise.


Absent evidence of such markings it remains a balance, not a balance scale.

Barrington
12-18-2010, 04:04 PM
Evan, the absence of a marked scale does not prevent it being a set of 'scales'. You seem to have created what appears to be a personal categorisation scheme based on a fanciful interpretation of the terms.
It appears that you are incorrect. The root of both scale and scalar is the latin "Scala" or "Scalaris" meaning ladder or stairs.
I don't know why you would say that? It's very easy to check. I am merely relaying fairly reliable dictionary definitions, e.g.:-

Anyway, I'm off on my hols. Merry Christmas !

Cheers


From Merriam Webster's Collegiate:-

Main Entry: (1) scale
Pronunciation: 'skAl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English scole, scale bowl, scale of a balance, from Old Norse skAl; akin to Old Norse skel shell -- more at SHELL
1 a : either pan or tray of a balance b : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends -- usually used in plural
2 : an instrument or machine for weighing

...

Main Entry: (6) scale
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin scala ladder, staircase, from Latin scalae, plural, stairs, rungs, ladder; akin to Latin scandere to climb -- more at SCAN
1 a obsolete : LADDER b archaic : a means of ascent
2 : a graduated series of musical tones ascending or descending in order of pitch according to a specified scheme of their intervals
3 : something graduated especially when used as a measure or rule: as a : a series of marks or points at known intervals used to measure distances (as the height of the mercury in a thermometer) b : an indication of the relationship between the distances on a map and the corresponding actual distances c : RULER 3


From Webster's 1913:-

1. \Scale\ (sk[=a]l), n. [AS. sc[=a]le; perhaps influenced by
the kindred Icel. sk[=a]l balance, dish, akin also to D.
schaal a scale, bowl, shell, G. schale, OHG. sc[=a]la, Dan.
skaal drinking cup, bowl, dish, and perh. to E. scale of a
fish. Cf. {Scale} of a fish, {Skull} the brain case.]
1. The dish of a balance; hence, the balance itself; an
instrument or machine for weighing; as, to turn the scale;
-- chiefly used in the plural when applied to the whole
instrument or apparatus for weighing. Also used
figuratively.

...

6. \Scale\, n. [L. scalae, pl., scala staircase, ladder; akin
to scandere to climb. See {Scan}; cf. {Escalade}.]
1. A ladder; a series of steps; a means of ascending. [Obs.]

2. Hence, anything graduated, especially when employed as a
measure or rule, or marked by lines at regular intervals.
Specifically:
(a) A mathematical instrument, consisting of a slip of
wood, ivory, or metal, with one or more sets of spaces
graduated and numbered on its surface, for measuring
or laying off distances, etc., as in drawing,
plotting, and the like. See {Gunter's scale}.
(b) A series of spaces marked by lines, and representing
proportionately larger distances; as, a scale of
miles, yards, feet, etc., for a map or plan.
(c) A basis for a numeral system; as, the decimal scale;
the binary scale, etc.
(d) (Mus.) The graduated series of all the tones,
ascending or descending, from the keynote to its
octave; -- called also the {gamut}. It may be repeated
through any number of octaves. See {Chromatic scale},
{Diatonic scale}, {Major scale}, and {Minor scale},
under {Chromatic}, {Diatonic}, {Major}, and {Minor}.

3. Gradation; succession of ascending and descending steps
and degrees; progressive series; scheme of comparative
rank or order; as, a scale of being.


4. Relative dimensions, without difference in proportion of
parts; size or degree of the parts or components in any
complex thing, compared with other like things;
especially, the relative proportion of the linear
dimensions of the parts of a drawing, map, model, etc., to
the dimensions of the corresponding parts of the object
that is represented; as, a map on a scale of an inch to a
mile.

{Scale of chords}, a graduated scale on which are given the
lengths of the chords of arcs from 0[deg] to 90[deg] in a
circle of given radius, -- used in measuring given angles
and in plotting angles of given numbers of degrees.

mike os
12-18-2010, 04:07 PM
if I said a mill & a shaper where the same would you agree?

doctor demo
12-18-2010, 04:41 PM
if I said a mill & a shaper where the same would you agree?

NO I would not.

Steve

JCHannum
12-18-2010, 05:03 PM
Absent evidence of such markings it remains a balance, not a balance scale.

http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/small/item/GTJ31524/

Roman balance, note the reference to the series of dots representing a specific weight. Pretty good evidence I would say.

All other references to Roman balances I can find turn up these pan balances.

http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10327328

tdmidget
12-18-2010, 05:34 PM
Evan, assuming the existence of such an instrument with out markings, notches, or graduations of any kind, WTF good would it be?

Rustybolt
12-18-2010, 05:54 PM
The length of the beam is a ratio. A known weight hung at the long end is multiplied by that ratio when the beam balances. Very old technology.
Say a ratio of 2:1. A ten pound weight on the long end will balance a 20 pound load on the short end.

JCHannum
12-18-2010, 06:10 PM
The length of the beam is a ratio. A known weight hung at the long end is multiplied by that ratio when the beam balances. Very old technology.
Say a ratio of 2:1. A ten pound weight on the long end will balance a 20 pound load on the short end.

All good except the weight is measured by the sliding poise moving along the beam, just as your doctor's platform scales. The beam must be graduated to produce any meaningful results.

Evan
12-18-2010, 10:44 PM
The instrument shown does not display visible markings. Like a violin it could be used without such markings and still provide a good approximation of truth.

Barrington,

Skal means bowl or shell in Danish but it isn't related to scale which is Skala. The Webster definition is in error since a much earlier and complete reference to the etymology of English in relation to Greek, Latin and the "Northern Tounges" from 1780 lists it as derived as a contraction of the words Seg-ell and refers to the Scapus. See below. It isn't even remotely related to the Norsk word for bowl or pan.

When looking for the etymology of a very old word it is best to find the oldest possible reference as meanings change with time and the original derivation may be lost and just guessed at by etymologists (common practice). Today, Skoal in Danish is a toast meaning "drink up".


ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

in TWO ALPHABETS,

Tricing the Etymology of those English Words, that are derived

I. From the G R E E K, and LATIN Languages;
II. From the SAXON, and other Northern Tongues,

THE WHOLE COMPILED FROM
V 0 S S I u s,
ME RIC CASAUBON,
SPELMAN,
SOMNER,
N I N S H E W,
J U N I U S,
SKINNER,
VERSTEGAN,
RAY,
NUGENT,
UPTON,
C L E L A N D,
AND OTHER ETYMOLOGISTS.

By the Reverend GEORGE WILLIAM LEMON,

Rector of Geytonthorpe, and Vicar of East Walton, Norfolk.

http://ixian.ca/pics8/scaleroot.jpg

tdmidget
12-18-2010, 11:34 PM
Playing the violin is an art. With the steelyard or other weighing device artistry is making a seller believe that the real weight is less, or a buyer that the weight is more. Take away the artistry and such a device is accurate. Without graduations there is no accuracy. Would you use a micrometer with no graduations? A tape measure? Would you buy based on such? Obviously such a device had graduations when made or there would be no point in it's manufacture. Or would you buy a tape measure without graduations and depend on your artistry to be accurate?

The Artful Bodger
12-18-2010, 11:55 PM
How long is a piece of string anyway?:rolleyes:

Gavin
12-19-2010, 12:21 AM
How long is a piece of string anyway?:rolleyes:

Untrue, he's a chinese grocer just down the road from me.

JCHannum
12-19-2010, 12:49 AM
The instrument shown does not display visible markings. Like a violin it could be used without such markings and still provide a good approximation of truth.

The enlarged photo which I posted from the eBay ad of the balance in the original post shows the marking at the 40 and 80 pound level. This corresponds to the steelyard I have. The 120 pound marking is fainter, but also appears. The beam has been painted, obscuring them, but if you look, they are there.

Evan
12-19-2010, 01:12 AM
Would you use a micrometer with no graduations?

I can cut a piece of material the length of the arm on the balance in half by eye within a few tenths of an inch at most. Accuracy doesn't mean a lot when there are no real standards. The notion of Accuracy 2000 years ago was very different then what it is now.

The item at the start of this thread may have marks or notches but I can't see any. If it does then it is a balance scale. If it doesn't then it is a balance.

tdmidget
12-19-2010, 01:21 AM
Just a little further, Evan. You can do it! Grab that straw!!!

dp
12-19-2010, 03:03 AM
It often happens that common usage of terms is accurate but not precise. For example - Mary has a morbid fear of spiders. This falls under zoophobia and it would be accurate to describe Mary as suffering from zoophobia - a fear of animals, or non-human animal life. But it would accurate and precise to say Mary is suffering from arachnophobia which is the fear of spiders and a special category of zoophobia.

I learned recently in another thread that drawing out this kind of linguistic specificity seems to annoy some people. :p

So sometimes yet another word can be used that is precise enough and describes the implement. A device for determining the approximate dead weight of an object.

Lew Hartswick
12-19-2010, 10:54 AM
I
I learned recently in another thread that drawing out this kind of linguistic specificity seems to annoy some people. :p

So sometimes yet another word can be used that is precise enough and describes the implement. A device for determining the approximate dead weight of an object.
I just can't help but stir the pot sometimes. :-)
But are we talking about Weight or Mass? :-)
...lew...

Evan
12-19-2010, 11:00 AM
Wanna get picky? I didn't bother mentioning the quite considerable effect that the buoyancy of air makes. Each litre of air displaced by an object produces a ~1 gram error in the measured weight.

This is an important source of error with balances. They will not measure accurately unless the balance weights have the same density as the object being weighed.

Because of this a pound of lead does weigh more than a pound of feathers. (mass is the same)

Rustybolt
12-19-2010, 03:54 PM
I can cut a piece of material the length of the arm on the balance in half by eye within a few tenths of an inch at most. Accuracy doesn't mean a lot when there are no real standards. The notion of Accuracy 2000 years ago was very different then what it is now.

The item at the start of this thread may have marks or notches but I can't see any. If it does then it is a balance scale. If it doesn't then it is a balance.


Weights found in Egypt, from thousands of years BCE, have been found to be tampered with to give the weigher an advantage.

Rustybolt
12-19-2010, 03:56 PM
Ancient Sumerian tablets have been showing that the king had set a system of official weights and measures.



In the abcense of any graduations of scale the ratio is maintained by a series of differnt size weights.

dp
12-19-2010, 05:10 PM
I just can't help but stir the pot sometimes. :-)
But are we talking about Weight or Mass? :-)
...lew...

For the purposes of getting the most out of that tool I think weights will do ;) Although it looks tippy enough that if the counter weight were to fall off and land on the inspector's foot, mass may become more interesting.

Evan
12-19-2010, 05:50 PM
Ancient Sumerian tablets have been showing that the king had set a system of official weights and measures.



What Hammurabi didn't have was any way to ensure accurate calibration of weights that were used in the kingdom. The weighing devices in use at the time were subject to numerous errors. The standards of accuracy were based on such things as the mass of a given number of plant seeds which is where some of the names for small measures come from, the Grain being a prime example. Of course that is subject to many sources of error.

Silver was considered "pure" if it was at least 90 percent silver since they didn't have a way to measure purity better than that. Roman coins that are found vary in weight by a considerable amount depending on when and where they were struck.

Even today if you watch how foods are weighed in open markets in Asia the balance is simply set to a certain position and the product is added to the container until the balance goes over. Then perhaps a token amount is added to satisfy the customer that they haven't been short changed.