Midwest Weigh-In, October 2019


Heavy rain and road construction were no match for thirteen enthusiastic ISASC members as they travelled to beautiful Argyle, Illinois, on October 5th to attend this year's Midwest Weigh-In. Typically held at a member's home, this one proved to be a different sort of adventure. Mike England, a new member who joined earlier this year, graciously offered to host the group at Paulson's Agriculture Museum of Argyle where he serves on the board of directors. Mike has an obvious passion for learning and teaching about history, wood and metal machinery and the tools that have made agriculture in this nation such a success. In other words, a perfect ISASC member as his interest in scales follows the same bent.

In attendance were Jan and Bill Berning, Allan and Aviva Rodin, Don and Donna Schoenly, Mike and Julie England, Jerry and Audrey Labodda, Pam Koetz, Fred Rengel and Erv Brauer. Unfortunately, Bob Jibben had to bow out at the last minute, but true to his word, he sent homemade apple crisp and cookies. What a guy!!!

After everyone arrived mid-late morning, we gathered in the entry to the museum which is full of unique items and memorabilia. Mike met us and described the purpose and history of the collection and displays. As promised, he arranged a nice meeting area where there was plenty to interest us with room for socializing, display and lunch.

As always, it was great to catch up with ISASC friends and get acquainted with folks that some of us had not met before. Hugs, animated conversation, laughter and the trading of some very high-level scale knowledge ensued. Allan showed us a couple of interesting scale acquisitions soliciting opinions as to specifics. Erv brought three rare scale patent models for display and described their construction and purpose. Mike and Erv inspected and explained a unique wooden model that belongs to the museum and concluded that it was most likely a patent model of a very early animal-powered well pump. Some of us brought photos to share with the group.

Then it was time for lunch which ranged from genuine Wisconsin USA cheese curds to meatballs in an Italian sauce. Salads, fresh fruit, baked beans, more meats, desserts and beverages rounded out the potluck feast. Happily, Mike's wife Julie was able to join us. As we convened around the table each attendee spent a few minutes telling us about themselves, their interests and collections and their ISASC history. The variety of experience and treasured collections (scale related and not) is incredible!

After lunch Mike gave us a very interesting tour of the many buildings that comprise the large Paulson Agricultural Museum. He really knows his stuff! With over 700 cast iron implement seats, hundreds of ag scale model toys, tractors, manure spreaders, plows, windmills, antique washing machines and SCALES it was hard to take it all in during one visit. And! we were lucky enough to learn quite a bit about hog oilers. (No, they are not to prevent squeaky hogs. You can look it up…) Mr. Paulson lovingly amassed quite a collection right up until the end of his life. In final tribute, the 1900 era horse drawn hearse in which he was carried is also on display. Check out this noteworthy museum at

After a very full and rewarding day we gathered to look at a few more pictures, ask some additional questions and reluctantly say our goodbyes. We promised to get together again at the next convention or sooner. There was no holding back as we expressed our sincere appreciation to our terrific host, Mike England. What a great way to be introduced to the Society and participate from the start! He looks forward to meeting all the attendees at the 2020 Detroit Convention.

So, another Midwest Weigh-In comes to an end. You are all invited to join us at next year's event. Location and details to be determined. See you there!

Submitted by Fred Rengel