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
. So i post it under the cape of Ethno Miscellania... in general
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
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?