Welcome to Scale Tales
Showcasing members' favorite or most unusual scales
– or simply the scales that got them hooked!
 How I Started Collecting Scales

Ashanti weights
  Ashanti Weights (Click photos for larger images)

I got into scales because my mother was an antique addict. Growing up, she used to drag me to every antique store and show to be found in Northern California and Oregon. My childhood home was filled with antiques. Fortunately, some of this rubbed off on me. I bought my first antique scale when I was a college student in Afghanistan. You can read about it in Equilibrium 2003 Issue 2, pp 2795 - 2803.

Afghan weight
Afghan Weight

I went off to college and graduate school and received degrees in genetics and animal breeding. My first job was breeding turkeys for a worldwide turkey breeding company. During this time, I was responsible for the hatching eggs which is what led me to be exposed to egg scales.

By then, I had married Nancy and she also loved antiques, especially china dinnerware. Whenever we would visit an antique store, the owners would ask what we collected. Nancy would say china and I would reply “I guess egg scales,” because Nancy had given me my first one. Within a few years, I had what I would call a decent collection.

Cricket scale
  Cricket Scale

In 1999, we wanted to know more about egg scales in general as well as the ones in my collection. While looking through an antique journal, I noticed an advertisement for an antique store that stated it sold scales. Even though it was located in the next town, I decided to stop by to learn more. There I met the owner and a wonderful scale collector by the name of Bill Doniger. It didn’t take long for us to form a very close friendship that lasted nearly 20 years until his death in 2019. During our initial meeting he strongly recommended that I become a member of ISASC to develop my knowledge of scales and weights.

Scale collector extraordinaire Bill Doniger with part of his massive collection
Kresky Standard Egg Grader
  Kresky Standard Egg Grader

Nancy and I attended our first ISASC convention in Seattle in 2000. There, we were overwhelmed with the massive variation of scales and weights. Not knowing how the Silent Auction worked, she and I competed against each other in bidding for some items. Today we laugh about it and those scales still grace our collection.

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My friend Bill had a massive collection. He and I would spend hours going over each of his scales and weights. This enabled me to learn about the history of the scale and how it worked. Through Bill and the ISASC organization, I met a number of local San Francisco Bay Area collectors who tutored me with their expertise. Ruth Willard – who lived down the street from my mom – introduced me to Ashanti weights. Norm Cima acquainted me with Asian scales, while Dale and Donna Reed familiarized me with many unusual scales and weights. What a great learning experience!!

Bill and I would attend antique shows together. In one booth, he pushed me out of the way so he could claim a cricket scale as his own. To this day, I have never seen a 90+ year old move so fast and furious to make a purchase. I guess scale collecting keeps you on your toes!

Today, Nancy and I have scales throughout the house and a basement museum of scales, weights, advertisements and ephemera. It is a wonderful and unique hobby.

This Scale Tale was written by Bill J.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the why and wherefore of cricket scales read Bill Doniger’s article “Cricket Anyone?” in Equilibrium 2008 Issue 4, pp 3407 - 3408.

For more stories, see our Scale Tales Library