Re-visiting home: When you love an old farmhouse kitchen style, a vintage inspired vignette like this one is a must, a small collection of bits & pieces including these gorgeous vintage green scales. I have always loved the old farmhouse goodies, the more enchantingly rustic the better.
It’s the way vintage household goods and utensils give the kitchen atmosphere, a sort of down-home warmth, a sort of imagining or wistfulness as I see beyond their utility and usefulness to their physical and emotional beauty. They remind me … memories awake … those early years. Who used them? Whose home were they in?
Perhaps their real value is in understanding they have passed through history, an earlier time when they were made and used in everyday kitchens, our mothers’, grandmothers’ and great grandmothers’ kitchens.
It’s what they represent of earlier times. It’s a sense of history, a need to keep them, to preserve and honour them by having them in my home and heart. Maybe somebody in the future will continue to take care of them once I’m gone.
This awesome piece, perfectly aged, shabby and tarnished with its beautiful old green patina, came with its copper scoop. I mention this because it’s often the case, when you find old kitchen scales, that the original scoop, the dish or plate, has been lost.
And it came via my friends at Cross Road Collectables in Adelaide, a place I miss for vintage, second-hand and recycled goodies, a treasure trove of miscellany run by really cool people in Ronnie, Jodie, Lyndon and Debbie. It was a place where you could dig & fossick for as long as you wanted depending on what you were after. I would try to visit these guys whenever I was in Adelaide. While the store front closed when they relocated to Victoria, they are still selling on line at the link above. They told me the scale came from a country store (long ago closed) in the Copper Coast region I think. Can’t remember the name of the town right now.
The beautiful piece is a pre-decimal currency Toledo mercantile/candy/coffee/tobacco scale of Honest Weight, No Springs” design. Sometimes referred to as a fan scale because of the shape of the scale part obviously. My research indicates it could be a Toledo Scale Co. Model 405 scale dated 1917.
Yes, it functions but may well need some adjusting to be accurate.
The fan scale with glass missing from front.
While many of the old commercial scales were larger, heavier and more durable than kitchen scales, this one isn’t large compared to some. It holds up to 3 lbs and measures about 37cm by 37cm from top to bottom, side to side (widest points).
In the past, scales were in all the local general stores generally sitting somewhere on the counter top for ease of access. Purchases like sugar, salt, flour, produce and so forth, were weighed out by the grocer while the customer watched. Our grandmothers knew nothing else. Purchases were dispensed by helpful and attentive shop keepers and servers on the spot.
I guess things started to change in the mid to late 60s when supermarkets and chain stores arrived and did away with the counter scales and personal, one-on-one service.
Love the curved base.
This model was generally found in candy stores in the USA hence the reference: ‘candy style’ scale. I’ve seen it referred to as the penny-candy store counter scale.
Um, candy is lollies in Australia folks and, yes, the lollies were weighed. Boiled sweets anybody?
This little kitchen scale, with its great detail and appeal, is one of my prettiest. Its age, tarnish and rusticity, its pretty scroll work, makes it a favorite.
It’s an ornate late Victorian Salter ‘British Made’ 20 lb cast iron piece, an embossed “Household Scale No. 49” dating to the late 1800s.
So much character in the aged, chippy and worn white face.
And while it functions it also may need to be callabrated for accuracy.
We grow the little gourds.
A close look at the scale shows remnants of gold embossing or gilt on the now mainly black body. I assume it would have been something like this (right):
Without the pan/dish.
This little cream scale, a vintage Harper kitchen scale, has its own gorgeous shabby patina.
Yes, it works.
The little weighing dish or tray was long gone when I found the scale so I simply use an oblong ceramic dish for display.
Finding a full set of the smaller weights can be tricky as pieces are often lost. I sometimes make a weight set with orphaned and mismatched weights.