Posts Tagged ‘scales’

A butcher’s steelyard

March 22, 2016

Steelyards are first rate and accurate weighing devices, intended to measure the weight of heavy objects. The object to be weighed is hung on the hooks on the short end of the lever and then a weight is slid along the yard length until the whole lever is horizontal. The scale on the yard is in units of weight (for scientists that ought to say mass) so you just read off at the point the weight has reached to balance the steelyard.

The one we have in the museum comes from a butcher’s shop and was clearly intended to weigh carcasses of meat.

Butcher's steelyard at Market Lavington Museum

Butcher’s steelyard at Market Lavington Museum

It has clearly seen better days but rest assured it was in that condition when it came to the museum. This one is marked ‘Crown Regulation 1926’ which suggests it is in the region of 90 years old/ It can weigh up to 300 pounds – about 137 kilograms.

This item is on display in our trades room at the museum.


Life in the balance.

December 19, 2014


Yes there is plenty of life in this spring balance.

Salter Model 3 pocket weighing scales at Market Lavington Museum

Salter Model 3 pocket weighing scales at Market Lavington Museum

This is quite a hefty little beast. It can weigh up to 25 pounds weight/ That’s in the region of 12 bags of sugar so these are no lightweight scales. Officially they are the number 3 model of pocket scales. Don’t look for accuracy. The divisions are each half a pound in size.

They are mid 20th century and made by Salter – hugely well known makers of weighing scales. It is hard to know just what a householder wanted such a balance for. These days people have similar devices to weigh luggage to make sure they are in line with aeroplane rules but back then it was much more likely to have been for weighing garden produce. These scales are usually on display in our kitchen room at the museum.

The scales belonged to a householder (and gardener) on White Street in Market Lavington.


Letter Scales

February 20, 2014

At Market Lavington Museum we have a set of scales for weighing letters that date back to the 1880s. They were given to the museum, many years ago, by Rose Crouch who had been a Hiscock before she married.

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

The scales are beautifully made in brass on a wood base and with a velvet lining. We think the weights, wrapped up in this photo, come from different scales.

The purpose is obvious. You could weigh a letter and then look up what value stamp was needed to post it. When made, you wouldn’t have needed a separate table of weights and prices for they are embossed on the scale pan.

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Three rates were given. For letters weighing less than an ounce it was a penny. That’s an old penny of course with 240 of them to the pound. Between one and two ounces upped the cost to a penny halfpenny (1½d) and then up to four ounces cost tuppence (2d).

Using the retail price index as a measure of inflation, that old penny in 1880 is much the same as 35p today which makes stamps much more expensive now. But if you consider incomes, the equivalent of earning a penny in 1880 is £1.82 today, so in terms of income it is much cheaper to send letters now.

We think these scales are lovely items – a real treasure of Market Lavington.

A steelyard

October 23, 2013

Steelyard is a word that does not seem to describe the object we are looking at – a kind of weighing scales. Nonetheless, it is the right word for scales such as these.

A steelyard to be found at Market Lavington Museum

A steelyard to be found at Market Lavington Museum

This steelyard is of a heavy duty kind, capable of weighing items up to 300 pounds in weight. That’s approaching 150 kilograms in present units.

In use, this steelyard would have hung from a beam in the open – not against a wall. The item to be weighed was hung from those fearsome looking hooks and then the heavy ball was moved along the arm until the arm was horizontal. The scale was along that arm. The further you had to move that spherical weight, the heavier your item was.

In this case the item to be weighed was meat – animal carcases or parts thereof. This steelyard dates from around 1926 for it carries that date on the roundel at the left hand end.


Crown Regulation - 1926

Crown Regulation – 1926

No doubt the accuracy of these devices was deemed important. The item says ‘Crown regulation’, gives the year of manufacture and the maximum load.

Clearly this device is no longer in A1 condition but it serves as a reminder of a time when there was a slaughterhouse in the village.

Kitchen Scales

February 23, 2011

Homes, up and down the country have scales in the kitchen. Recpies require ingredients to be weighed so a pair of scales is an essential for any cook. These days scales may well be all electronic, with digital readouts and, possibly, audio indications when the correct weight is reached. Many homes, though, still use good, old fashioned balances like the ones we have in Market Lavington Museum. The scales can be found on our kitchen table  along with many other items of kitchen ware.

Kitchen scales, formerly used by the Welch family and now at Market Lavington Museum

These kitchen scales date from about 1900 and were used, in Market Lavington, by the Welch family. Peggy Gye, our museum founder, was a Welch by birth so our Peggy probably used these scales when she was learning to cook in the 1920s.

A weight for the scales - made by Crane of Wolverhampton

The weights were also part of the same set and belonged to the Welch family as well. This one is the 4 oz (ounce) weight and was made by the Crane company of Wolverhampton. There’s a wonderful web site about this company which can be found here.

A Market Lavington Bank

February 7, 2011

Back in the mid nineteenth century, Market Lavington was a market town and it had the services that might be expected in such a place. This included a number of banks.

Gradually, Market Lavington lost some of the services, as it became more a village than a town. Of course, it is a first rate village and boasts many facilities, which other villages will envy. We have two pubs, a small supermarket, a chemist, a couple of hairdressers, a newsagents, a butcher’s shop, a couple of pubs and a thriving post office. There are take-away premises of various kinds, but many will regret that we no longer have a bank although, of course, the Post Office does offer many banking services.

The last bank to close, in Market Lavington, was Lloyds Bank, which closed its doors for the last time on 29th August 1996.  The name lives on for the building which included the bank was always known as Bank House and it still is.

Memories are kept at Market Lavington Museum where amongst our exhibits we have the money weighing scales that were in use until the very last day that the bank operated.

Money weighing scales from the former Lloyds Bank in Market Lavington

The scales have weights marked, not in pounds and ounces or grams, but in quantities of money such as, £10s of 50p coins

A weight used with the money scales

We have other bank memorabilia, at the museum, so if this happens to be your interest then do visit the museum.

In the New Cabinet – Along the High Street

February 23, 2010

Market Lavington might be thought of as a village now, but it was, once, a market town with a long, busy High Street. Our ‘new cabinet’ walk takes in the High Street and other streets with commercial properties – notably Church Street and White Street. We are looking at shops and banks and some of the items found in them.

High Street Shelf at Market Lavington Museum

On the left, we have various items from Ken Mundy’s shoe shop which used to be between the present Co-op and newsagents. There’s his open and closed sign and his advertising man – both given by Phillips Stick-a-Soles and heels’ and also a shoe stretcher for accommodating bunions.

From the hardware shop, once upon a time opposite the Co-op, we have a loyalty card from the 1990s.

There used to be more than one butcher in the village, and how lucky we are still to have one. We think our butcher’s cleaver and steel came from ‘Piggy Ward’ who had premises next to the present Post Office.

Back in the 1970s there were four different banks in the village and we have the money weights from Lloyds which was near the Co-op.

The photographer – and how lucky we have been to have had professional photographers in the village for 130 years – is represented by a trimming guillotine.

The back drop to the cabinet is made up of bills from may of the village traders. There’s Hobbs, Doubleday and Frances, Gyes, Hopkins, Neates, Potters, Nottons – to name some of them. The shelf is not full yet and there’s space for more so do come and see it when the museum opens in May.

In the New Cabinet – The Baker Shelf

February 18, 2010

One of the reasons that we have a new display cabinet – bringing more life and interest to our upstairs room – is because a member of the Baker family, who lived in Canada, left the museum a legacy in honour of her grandfather, John Baker of Market Lavington. John was a tinsmith and trader as well as being a prize winning sharp shooter with the local Loyal Volunteers, and being ever ready to turn out with the Market Lavington fire engine. The picture shows the Baker shelf.

Baker shelf in the new display cabinet at Market Lavington Museum

One of the items has already been featured on this blog but it has not been on display before because it is a new gift and that’s the pair of scales that the family used.

Another new item is a lovely little brooch containing a lock of hair. This belonged to John’s daughter, Mabel. She was born in 1883 in Market Lavington.

Several of John’s children emigrated to Canada and other items on this shelf have made a round trip, from Market Lavington to remote spots in Canada and back again. There are various items of enamel ware which might have been sold by John Baker, but these pieces were kept by the family and used. There’s also an autograph book sent from Market Lavington to Canada by John’s daughter, Mollie as a 1912 Christmas gift for her sister, Amy, who had already emigrated.

Photos of the family form a backdrop on this shelf.

We have, in the museum, a folder full of photos and information about this family. Do ask to see it when you visit the museum.

Weighing Scales used by the Baker Family

January 28, 2010


Weighing Scales used by the Baker Family

John Baker was a tinsmith and trader. He lived and worked in the house opposite the coop which many Lavington residents will remember as an ironmonger/hardware shop until the 1990s. But John Baker’s time was 100 years before then.

John Baker was born in 1843 and lived in Market Lavington for sixty years. He died in 1903. He was probably born to be a tinsmith for his father already ran the business.

We have much information about the Baker family in the museum for we celebrated the family in a 2009 display. This led to family members giving us further items including this pair of scales which was used in the nineteenth century by the Bakers in their Market Lavington home. Whether this was for cooking or for weighing out solder we do not know.