Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A scale ... for what ? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18621)

fernando 1st June 2014 08:45 PM

A scale ... for what ?
 
6 Attachment(s)
I could start by suggesting that this scale is for weighing gunpowder, to associate it with Ethno Arms & Armour Miscellania, but i wouldn't be honest :o . So i post it under the cape of Ethno Miscellania... in general :o .
What i was told by the (dubious) street fair seller is that this is a 'Garimpeiro' scale, name given to placer gold miners in Brazil. From this assumption i built a story upon this device.
For a start it is small enough to carry in the pocket, and portable enough in that its pan is part of its case; both making sense for a wandering miner.
Then my research went for the 'modus operandi'. This scale has no scale, that is, it only measures a unique weight, by means of correct equilibrium of its pointer. I made a few atempts and realized that the weight to be checked is about an ounce; an ounce of gold, it would be; like the miner using it to gather gold by the pound before going to town and submit the lot to the buyer precision scale. Amazingly it has an extra 'washer' before the (dismountable) counter balance, as if it were for measuring different types of ounce... or cheating :confused: .
But one big problem arises; i have browsed a zillion times on miner scales, both in english and portuguese (brazilian) and nothing compared to this thing shows up.
Do you guys have any ideas on what this actually is?


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Richard G 3rd June 2014 11:31 AM

I would guess the washer is somehow a method of calibrating the scale.
Regards
Richard

fernando 3rd June 2014 04:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
I would guess the washer is somehow a method of calibrating the scale.
Regards
Richard

Thank you Richard,
Then more than one washer should make part of the set, as calibration deviations are not ponderable .This would imply with other washers having been lost.
... Unless the one and only washer serves to calibrate the scale for two specific weighing purposes; two different ounce weight criteria (troy or avoirdupois) or the material to be weighed having two conditions, like gold before and after purification.
... But of course i am shooting in the dark :o .

Richard G 5th June 2014 10:27 AM

Fernando, like yourself, I'm only speculating, but if the counterweight can be moved further out from the fulcrum, and held there by placing the washer against the bar then you could weigh ounces, grams, or whatever. For example if you were to put an ounce weight in the tray, then adjust the counterweight until it is in equilibrium you would know anything subsequently put in the tray weighs an ounce. .This may have been useful to persuade customers etc, they were not being fiddled. Similarly, say for 100 grms
Initially, I thought these had a "western" look about them but now I'm not so sure. I can't see any reason why they should not be for weighing gold, but I presume could also have been used for other relatively high value materials, pearls, cosmetics, perfumes, spices, drugs (!), even tobacco etc.
Regards
Richard

fernando 5th June 2014 11:41 AM

Thank you again, Richard
I peefectly understand what you mean; quite simple and ingenious, revealing a wide functionality to this device.
However, the counterweight shaft is not threaded and the 'ball' is not so tightly secured, in that, once slightly moved out it falls off, not standing the minimum adjustment. So it either suffers from wear or the explanation would be another one.
Still i appreciate your reasoning.

Marcus den toom 5th June 2014 12:15 PM

Hi Fernando,

This interesting item kept me thinking and after reading your last post i thoughed about someting. The ball can be taken out (shaft and all)?
Maybe there used to be more than one ball with shaft of different weights?
There is enough room in the box left for other weights as well. ;) :)

fernando 5th June 2014 01:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
Hi Fernando,

This interesting item kept me thinking and after reading your last post i thoughed about someting. The ball can be taken out (shaft and all)?
Maybe there used to be more than one ball with shaft of different weights?
There is enough room in the box left for other weights as well. ;) :)


The counterweight shaft is not removeable, Marcus; it belongs in the scale arm.
The shaft length is precisely that to lodge the present ball ... no less, no more.


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