Mid-Atlantic Scale Summit, October 2017


What do you get when you put fourteen people together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in October who have known each other for many years, who really like each other and have an insatiable common interest? A gathering of Scalies at Mary and Jerry Katz's house of course!

Along with our hosts, on hand were Ann and Kurt Beyreis, Margaret and Mike Foster, Karen and Steve Beare, Kathy and Steve Barnett, Arline and Bill Jacobson, Mary Anne Murphy and Jane Bersch.

As is the norm there were some scales on view that generated a copious amount of discussion. Scale talk was going on in the living room while food was being consumed in the dining area. In between folks were wandering in and out of Jerry’s scale room.

Kurt brought a Fairbanks postal scale that weighs in tolas. The tola was an early traditional unit of mass in India and South Asia that was later incorporated into the British Indian system. Although it was officially replaced by metric units in 1956, it is still currently in use at the local level. Kurt also brought a scale that he is very excited about. He had only recently acquired it and was just starting his research, eventually planning an article for Equilibrium.

Steve Beare brought a Benetfink coin scale that he wasn’t sure was genuine. He had asked Steve Barnett to bring his, and Jerry got out the one he has so they could compare the three side by side. That still didn’t settle Steve’s questions about his scale. Then Mike stepped in with his book on coin scales, bringing up on his iPad the information pertaining to this particular scale. After some consultation with the reference material, it was apparent that there are two versions of this scale. Steve was very glad to learn that his version is indeed a legitimate Benetfink.

Steve also brought two unsigned small scales – a lyre-shaped postal spring scale and a French C-scale. The C-scale is the smallest one he has seen with a face only 2 5/8" in diameter.

Steve and Kathy Barnett brought a couple of shelf edge postal scales. The Walkers Compactum Letter Balance is English. The second one is mid-twentieth century and was used in German post offices for obtaining the weight of a standard letter. The third scale they brought is an apothecary beam scale with Avery apothecary weights in an open compartmented tray lined with velvet. In the tray is an apothecary spatula with S. Maw Son & Thompson 7 To 12 Aldersgate Street stamped on it. S Maw Son and Thompson made medical instruments and supplies in the late 19th century. The scale set was part of an apothecary chest. The scale itself does not have a maker’s name, but presumably it, too, was made by Avery.

At one point, as Mike was relaxing in one of Jerry's beautiful jockey scales, Arline got the idea of experimenting with the accuracy of the scale which weighs in stones, an old English unit of mass with 1 stone equaling 14 pounds. She tried a combination of weights to see if the scale would actually come up with Mike's real weight. After fiddling with the weights for a while, Kurt helped her decide which ones balanced Mike.

When they thought they had the best combination, they multiplied the number of stones by fourteen. Mike said the number was very close to his weight. It was gratifying to prove Jerry's scale was accurate. Of course, in the view of a hard-core scale collector, any discrepancy is the operator’s mistake, not the scale's error!

A year from May to May is a long time to wait to see friends dispersed all over the country and beyond, so we really enjoy these "in-between-convention-get-togethers." We said our good-byes with the hope of seeing each other in Minneapolis next May, thus ending another wonderful afternoon of camaraderie heavily accented with scale viewing and scale talk.