From the Library of Scale Tales
  What Goes Around ...

British iron slotted weightsThis is the story about what goes around, comes around.

Sometime in the late fall of 2017, I received an email via the ISASC website from a gentleman seeking our assistance. Paul had emailed knowing it was a "long shot," but with the fervent hope that we could help with a problem he had, and at the same time recognizing that any alternative sources of help he might turn to were virtually non-existent.

In the early Eighties while living in the United Kingdom, Paul acquired and renovated a W. & T. Avery person's scale. At the time he contacted Brecknell, a division of Avery, who supplied him the iron slotted weights which normally accompany this type of scale. This set of weights was unusual in that they weighed in stones – a unit of measure used in Britain before the adoption of the metric system. Time went on and all the while he happily enjoyed his scale and the associated weights.

Fast forwarding nearly forty years, he found himself relocating to Italy and took his prized scale with him. That is when a misfortune struck – a calamity which the very thought of makes scale and weight collectors the world over cringe in horror. Somewhere in the transport of his personal possessions from England to Italy, one of the weights went missing.

He contacted Avery, but during the intervening time this company had been sold and was no longer able to furnish the weight he needed. That's when the former curator of the Avery Historical Museum suggested he contact ISASC to see if we could help replace his missing weight. The set came with weights marked 8 stone, 4 stone, 2 stone, 1 stone and ½ stone. It was the 4 stone that he was now missing.

British iron slotted weights

After receiving Paul's email, I immediately contacted John, Chairman of the Euro Chapter of ISASC, to see if he could be of any help in replacing the missing weight since stone weights are very hard to find in the US. His reply came back that he didn't have access to this type of weight currently, but would keep an eye out.

4 stone weightSo, I was very surprised when not two months later John contacted me that he had come across a set of iron slotted stone weights that possibly Paul would be interested in. Certainly, it seemed like this was the answer, but now the question was would this set match the same ratio of the set of weights in Italy. Fortune smiled upon us and after some back and forth it was confirmed that indeed it did match. Without delay the set was quickly shipped off to Italy with the added generosity being that it was sent as a gift.

Paul was ecstatic to finally have the missing 4 stone weight he had searched for so diligently to complete the set of weights for his person's scale. John had sent the entire set, suggesting that Paul keep the others in case he found someone who might want them. It was at that point I mentioned to Paul that I collected stone weights and rather than have them stored away in a box perhaps he would sell them to me for my collection.

He was more than delighted to find a "home" for them. The cycle of generosity continued as he also gifted them to me and wouldn't even let me pay for shipping, as appreciation for my help. I tried to say that my part had been quite minimal, but he was insistent and in short order they arrived at my house safe and sound.

Going back to John, I thanked him for his help and joked that now I was in the market for a 4 stone weight to complete the set I had received from Paul. I put the incomplete stack on my shelf and was very happy with my new acquisition.

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A year went by in which I really hadn't thought much more about this whole episode. Then one day my husband came in with the mail saying I had received a small package. Thinking I hadn't ordered anything, I took it when he handed it to me, and saw the note "iron weight" written on the outside of the package. My first thought was, "I don't remember bidding on an iron weight on eBay," and that's when I saw John's name. "Surely it couldn't be," was going through my head as I quickly tore the wrapping.

But, I was wrong! There in my hand was an iron slotted 4 stone weight. I went upstairs and immediately put it in its place in the stack of weights I had gotten from Paul and it fit perfectly.

So, ultimately this is a story of how a missing odd weight can bring strangers from across the globe into contact with mutual benefit and how fellow collectors can be instrumental in perfecting your collection.

This Scale Tale was written by Carol H.

For more stories, see our Scale Tales Library