Walnut Creek, May 2024

The day was bright and sunny on May 2nd as members started arriving from across the country for the 44th ISASC Convention in Walnut Creek, California. The enthusiasm was readily apparent as folks met up with good friends and fellow scale collectors as they checked in. Many of us highly anticipate this annual gathering all year and were excited that it was finally here.

The weekend got off to a delightful start with a scrumptious dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Platters of appetizers were served family style followed by an entrée of your choice. Over a delicious meal accompanied by a nice vintage of wine, members had time to get re-acquainted in an atmosphere of relaxed ambience.

ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California
ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California

Friday morning started very early as we had a ways to go to see the collection of Clem and Katherine M. Any symptoms of bus fatigue quickly faded as we entered the foyer of their home to see a large bullion scale with a six-foot beam prominently displayed. It only got better from there. Clem specializes in gold scales and gold assay scales. He started collecting in the 1950s and had scales that few of us had seen before. The added bonus was that pretty much all of his scales were in pristine condition. The scales could be found throughout the house and for the most part were wonderfully displayed with related weights and paraphernalia.

ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024 ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024

ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024(Right) On the return trip we detoured to Old Town Sacramento where we had about two hours to explore. Many opted to visit the California State Train Museum while some spent time in the Sacramento History Museum learning more about the Gold Rush. Others chose to enjoy the beautiful weather by strolling around and doing a little retail therapy. Several took advantage of the ice cream shop and could be seen on the sidewalk enjoying their fully filled cones.

(Left) David L. started off the Saturday morning presentations. David is the son of member Winsome L. and her late husband Ross. Having recently become a member himself, David gave us a humorous retrospective of growing up as the child of a scale collector.

Like most kids, he was convinced his parents were a bit crazy with this strange hobby, but as he became older he learned to appreciate the scales his Dad so highly valued. We learned about another unusual hobby his father had when he showed a large brass rubbing Ross had done at a church in England. Brass rubbing is a method of reproducing on paper monumental commemorative brass plaques and incised slabs. Most of us who had known Ross for years had no idea about this sideline of his.

ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024 ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024

ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024

ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024

Turns out Judy S. has her own subset within the scale collection she shares with husband Eric. Her program entitled “Manipulate to Calculate” featured the calculating tools she collects. These are devices, many of which are hand-held, that measure and/or take measurements a step further, often by manipulating a wheel or slide. Here are just a few examples she shared:

  1. Devices to manually add, subtract, etc.;
  2. A brass beam which converts hectoliters to bushels;
  3. Caliper to measure the diameter of a button and convert ligne (French measurement) to mm;
  4. Gauge to measure the channel of solid carriage tires and determine the rubber needed, including correct overlap for compression;
  5. Flight "computers" for pilots which have been replaced by electronics on modern aircraft but are still required to be carried by pilots; and
  6. Giveaways by scale companies such as Avery (perpetual calendar) and Fairbanks (tool for conversions of weight and mass, volume and capacity, length and temperature).
ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024
ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024
ISASC Walnut Creek, California, 2024  

Ernie S. showed slides of a display of counterfeit coin detector scales he recently set up for a numismatic show held in Orlando. There were 45 presentations being judged and Ernie’s display was voted the People’s Choice Award by the attendees. He won 1st place in the Miscellaneous Category in which there were nine entries. He used this as a prime example of how we as members can spread the word about scales and advertise ISASC.

As usual, Saturday afternoon was reserved for the Silent Auction and Let’s Make a Deal. Several members were using this opportunity to downsize their collection leading to a copious amount of offerings representing a varied cross-section of scales and weights. Some sellers sold items only to turn around and buy from other sellers. In the end everyone seemed happy as they packed up their new acquisitions and headed off to get ready for the next event.

The gala reception and banquet closed out the day. It is the occasion when we honor those who have contributed to the betterment of our Society. This year Greg H., who is stepping down from the Board of Directors, was recognized for his years of service as the Convention Chairperson. Since joining the Board in 2013, Greg has been in charge of planning and executing our annual conventions. He has consistently year after year pulled off some very memorable gatherings.

We also took time to acknowledged Greg’s wife Judy who has been invaluable working behind the scenes helping with the admin details and at the convention itself working with the staff to ensure the smooth operation of events and quick solutions to problems that inevitably arise. This team has certainly given more than their fair share in service to ISASC. As a small token of our gratitude, President Allan R. presented Greg with an equal arm J Maul scale. On the base is mounted a small engraved plaque inscribed with a declaration of our appreciation and his years of service.

Show and Tell was the featured program first thing on Sunday morning. Kurt B. started it off showing a very old equal-arm British scale he picked up on his way to the convention and that is destined for the ISASC Museum. He is looking for information about it. He stated if anyone could tell him anything, he would appreciate it.

Vern R. collects computing scales. He showed and told us the story of how he acquired a leather case specifically fitted for a 5 pound Angldile scale used by the scale salesman. It is a trunk style case and these were made from about 1908 to1910-15. He also had the Angldile scale that fits in the case, which in addition to the case is very rare to find.

Don L. gave us a short history of bread and the necessity for use of bread scales in England explaining the direct tie-in with financial markets. He showed slides of different styles of these types of scales.

Steve B. led us through how a collaboration solved a mystery. When he couldn’t figure out what one of his newly acquired scales was used for, he started checking with other members. After piecing together the different bits of information he received, he determined it is a French baby scale that would have been used by traveling doctors.

Greg H. started with “when is a scale not a scale” and then proceeded to show a diverse collection of items that depict scales or have scales incorporated into their design. To visually explain what he meant, Greg showed examples of coins, jewelry, toys, paperweights and even a salt and pepper shaker set. The pièce de résistance of these items was Barbie, yes, that’s Barbie doll, on her pink lollipop scale.

Monday morning we loaded up and headed to the home of Bill and Nancy J. to see their extensive collection of scales and weights. We had no idea what a treat we were in for! Since Bill worked in the poultry industry, he naturally started out collecting egg scales. Today, Bill’s inventory of egg scales is vast, but still only a fraction of his total collection. In addition to his egg scales, there were large displays of candlesticks, folders, rockers and boxed coin scales, among others. Spread out on the dining room table was an impressive array of D’otchin a.k.a. opium scales ascending from very short to longer ones.

ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California
ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California

After having plenty of time to circle through the various rooms several times to see what we missed the first time around, we were called out on the terrace for lunch. It was an absolutely gorgeous day perfect for an outdoor picnic. Catered by a local deli we munched on ham and turkey tortilla rollup sandwiches, macaroni salad, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and a colorful mixed fruit salad. Just when you thought you had your fill, Nancy came by with a tray of various kinds of delicious cookies and cakes. Even after we finished eating, many of us lingered just chatting knowing that this was the last chance to spend time together during this convention.

The 2025 ISASC Convention will be held in Charleston, South Carolina. Steve and Rita G. will be the local hosts. Planning is already underway, and President Allan R. extends a personal invitation for you to join us. Regular attendees and first timers are always welcomed. Come for the scales, come for the camaraderie and come for the memorable times you will have with your fellow Scalies. See ya there!

ISASC 2024 Walnut Creek California