Highlights: Detroit, May 2022



After a two year hiatus due to public health concerns, members gathered in Detroit May 19 - 23, 2022, for the 42nd ISASC annual convention. Everyone was so happy to be able see each other again. Sometimes after a long break, things change and are different. The general consensus was this was not the case here. We picked up where we left off. Just proves the close-knit community of this group never goes away.

The convention started off Thursday night with a casual relaxed atmosphere as we headed off on the bus for dinner at Sindbads on the Detroit River. After the feasting was done we hopped back on the bus for a tour of Belle Isle and Detroit. The guide pointed out many areas in the city that are being refurbished and renewed contributing to Detroit making a comeback as a modern desirable city to live in.

On Friday dawn came early as we boarded the bus for the long ride out to see the Jim D. Collection (below left). When we arrived Jim and Joyce were there to welcome us and explain the lay of the land. Then we spread out in several different directions to see the uncountable number of scales that are displayed in the barn and in semi-trailers behind Jim’s workshop. Even those of us who had seen his collection years ago at the 2007 convention were impressed all over again. We had stopped for a delicious lunch before arriving, so the only appetite we had left was for seeing scales. There was no disappointment in that department!

Our bus driver for the day was a delightful friendly lady named Wendy (above right). She liked our easy-going group and while at Jim’s started looking at some of the scales. She expressed how much she really was drawn to a particular postal by Hanson. Next thing we all knew, Jim picked up the scale and gave it as a gift to Wendy. We don’t know if we turned her into an official Scalie, but she was very excited to receive it.

Then it was on to see the collection of Greg M. Greg is known for his love of computing scales, especially those made by companies with Michigan roots. So, it was a bit of a surprise to see that Greg had diversified well beyond just the computing type and has accumulated a well-rounded collection of different varieties of scales.

However, his “pride and joy” is a very large bullion scale (far right) housed in a glass case that was rescued years ago from the basement vault of a Manhattan bank. Used for weighing silver bullion, the engraved plaque identifies it as a Henry Troemner and has the serial number on it. The beam is 3 feet wide and it is about 4 feet in height with a 60 kilogram capacity. Accompanying the scale is a set of large brass weights. Along with admiring its beauty and size, you can’t miss the 30 inch Star Wars stormtrooper in the glass case diligently guarding the scale 24/7.

The day finished up with the Friday night get-together and album sharing. It is the chance to view other collections pinpointing the scales that you would like to acquire. It was a great time to catch up with friends and meet the ones attending their first convention. As the evening progressed the fellowship that prevailed carried through the weekend.

Saturday morning was a series of presentations. Ernie S. gave an update on this year’s report from the Duquesne University student interns. For the past five years he has worked with interns to study our organization and provide input on how we can recruit more members and spread the word about scales. Kurt B. offered an historical account of the long and often frustrating efforts to get a system for standard weights and measures in the US.

The presentation by Greg M. centered on a scale made by the short-lived Detroit Computing Scale Company 1888-1891. Greg M. and Utz S. did a combined lecture on Michigan scales. The program by Utz S. told the story about two men and their pendulum scales that were “twins” although produced a hundred years apart.

As always Saturday afternoon was reserved for the Silent Auction and Let’s Make a Deal. This year there were plenty of offerings representing a large cross-section of scales and related items. Just the duplicates being sold from the ISASC Museum, many of them of high quality, took up three tables. Several of the regular sellers had multiple years of inventory they were trying to sell. It was definitely a buyer’s market! No one who wanted to add to their collection walked away empty-handed.

The gala reception and banquet closed out the day. It is the occasion to honor those who have contributed to the betterment of our Society. Fred R. presented past president Bob H. with a token of the Society’s appreciation for his years of service. This token consists of a highly polished 14 pound brass bell weight showing beautifully atop a round black base with a small engraved plaque. Bob now affectionately calls it his “trophy” and has it displayed prominently in his office at home.

Next Fred read a testimonial from Diana C-H. describing her long friendship and productive working relationship with Jan B. who retired as our EQM editor at the end of 2021 after serving in that position for eighteen years. Upon finishing, Fred asked Jan to come up and on behalf of the Board of Directors and the ISASC membership he presented her a plaque affirming the Society’s sincere gratitude and appreciation for her years of outstanding service. It was an emotional moment for Jan as everyone in the room gave her a standing ovation in recognition of all she has given to our organization.

Sunday morning’s program opened with Show and Tell with Ernie S. serving as moderator this year. Fred R. gave a short presentation on how Henry Ford’s desire to expand his business led him to developed standardized parts for his factories across the globe. Claus B., our guest from the German scale society, gave an overview along with showing a video about the Pfunds Museum. This museum solely for scales, weights and measures is located in Germany. It was originally established and for years managed by a German scale society member. After this member passed away several years ago, the German club took over this museum as a non-profit. This was heart-warming news to those of us who were fortunate enough to see this museum while on the ISASC 2010 trip to Germany.

Steve B. 1 showed two very similar early 20th Century Counterfeit Coin Detectors, difference being one is American and one is German. Steve B. 2 brought a druggist scale made by Christopher Roesler. He pointed out where the decoration on top of the beam is designed very similar to scales by Troemner. Don L. had three very unique bell weights not seen before by many of us. In place of the usual handle on a typical bell weight there was a number which indicated the weight of the weight.

Vern R. told us the story of a rare scale from the Standard Computing Scale Company he has been pursuing for years. He finally was able to get one and now is able to cross it off his “most wanted” list. Claus pulled a double when he showed a video of a collection of humorous post cards with scales. Ernie S. combined his two favorite hobbies by showing a series of slides featuring scales on US assay commission medals and coins. The business meeting followed winding up the morning just in time for the luncheon buffet.

Monday morning was another early show time as we boarded the bus to go north to see the collection of Utz S. Upon arriving we were welcomed by Utz and Shirley. Designed by Utz, the house nicely showcases their collection of unique and diverse scales and weights. It is obvious he has a keen interest in early computing scales as well as those employing a variety of mechanical principles. Of special note, many of the scales are displayed as a diorama showing their history and practical uses. Surrounded by related items, advertising and period pieces that tell a story, it made it easy for us to learn more about the scale we were viewing.

The next stop was a great-tasting lunch at the Windjammer Bar and Grill overlooking the harbor on Lake Huron. Then it was on to explore the grounds at the Gratiot Lighthouse. We returned to the hotel in the afternoon well satiated from the numerous opportunities for scale viewing the weekend offered.

The 2023 ISASC Convention will be held in the Washington, District of Columbia, area. Kurt and Ann B. will be the local hosts. Planning is already underway and President Fred R. extends a personal invitation for you to join us. Come for the scales, come for the camaraderie and come for the memorable times you will have with your fellow Scalies. See ya there!