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Balance

National Museum of American History
This is an example of the “New Triumph Plate Glass Box Prescription Scale” that, Troemner boasted, was “Built like the Wise Man’s House—upon a Rock. No springs to snap. Strongly built, yet sensitive—all Bearings of Selected Russian Agates.” The inscription on the ivory scale reads “HENRY TROEMNER / PHILADELPHIA.” That on the brass tag on the base reads: “HENRY TROEMNER / MAKER / PHILADELPHIA, PA.” The large red cardboard box is marked “NEW / TRIUMPH / AGATE BEARINGS CRYSTAL BOX / PRESCRIPTION SCALE / NO. 542 / HENRY TROEMNER, PHILADELPHIA, PA. U.S.A. Ref: Henry Troemner ad in The Spatula 20 (1913): 616. Henry Troemner, Catalogue (Philadelphia, 1916), p. 20.

Balance

National Museum of American History
Frederick A. Roeder (1839-1884) was a German chemist who, while studying at the University of Göttingen, learned that the eminent professors, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber, had experimented with torsion wires as substitutes for knife edge pivots in balances. Later, while teaching at the University of Cincinnati, Roeder succeeded in making a torsion balance of the sort that had eluded Gauss and Weber. This instrument, he boasted in 1881, “can be constructed so cheaply that in the near future it will be possible for every druggist to supply himself with scales, closely approaching in sensitiveness those at present used by analytical chemists, this too at a price lower than is now asked for druggists’ scales. Consequently the prescribing physician, or he who dispenses his own medicines, may rest assured that the weight of the ingredients he orders can, with ordinary care, be determined with an exactitude at present impossible.” Roeder’s work caught the attention of Alfred Springer (1854-1946), a Cincinnati native with a chemistry Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, whose prosperous family made flavors for food and beverages. The two men established the Torsion Balance and Scale Co. in 1882. This became the U.S. Torsion Balance Co. & Scale Co. in 1886, the Springer Torsion Balance Co. in 1887, and the Torsion Balance Co. in 1908. In 1891, the Committee on Science and the Arts of the Franklin Institute awarded the John Scott Legacy Premium and Medal to Roeder and Springer for their invention of the torsion balance. The frame this example is nickel-plated, with beveled glass sides and top. The base is marked “TORSION BALANCE.” A brass tag on the front reads: THE U.S. TORSION BALANCE & SCALE CO. / STYLE 270 NEW YORK NO. 170 / PATENTED AUG. 15, 1882.” Ref: Frederick A. Roeder, “Beam Scale,” U.S. Patent 262,905 (August 15, 1882), one half assigned to Alfred Springer. Frederick A. Roeder, “Platform Scale,” U.S. Patent 262,906 (August 15, 1882), one half assigned to Alfred Springer. William Kent, “The Torsion Balance,” Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 6 (1885): 636-654. Springer Torsion Balance Co., Price List of Fine Scales and Weights (New York, 1900), p. 5.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
This example has a cast iron frame with black finish, with “TORSION BALANCE” in the center of the base. A metal tag on one side of the base is marked: “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 3500 NEW YORK NO. B 11449 / PAT. JAN. 6. 85. JAN. 22. 89. MAY 19. 91.” A metal tag on the other side reads “LEVITT-FERGUSON CO. / LABORATORY SUPPLIES / BALTIMORE. MD.” A sliding weight, on the circular bar below the scale, would be used for taring containers. Ref: The Torsion Balance Co., Chemical and Laboratory Balances (New York, 1920), p. 12.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
A metal tag reads “Style 1L5 No. 5882 CAP. 500G. THE TORSION BALANCE CO. NEW YORK MADE IN U.S.A. CLASS APPROV. TYPE SERIES.” A paper tag reads “FISHER SCIENTIFIC CO. EIMER AND AMEND.” The model 1L5 was designed for general laboratory use. The beam has double graduations, in grains and grams. Ref: Fisher Scientific Co., Modern Laboratory Appliances (1959), p. 58.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
Frederick A. Roeder (1839-1884) was a German chemist who, while studying at the University of Göttingen, learned that the eminent science professors, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber, had experimented with torsion wires as substitutes for knife edge pivots in balances. Later, while teaching at the University of Cincinnati, Roeder succeeded in making a torsion balance of the sort that had eluded Gauss and Weber. This instrument, he boasted in 1881, “can be constructed so cheaply that in the near future it will be possible for every druggist to supply himself with scales, closely approaching in sensitiveness those at present used by analytical chemists, this too at a price lower than is now asked for druggists’ scales. Consequently the prescribing physician, or he who dispenses his own medicines, may rest assured that the weight of the ingredients he orders can, with ordinary care, be determined with an exactitude at present impossible.” Roeder’s work caught the attention of Alfred Springer (1854-1946), a Cincinnati native with a chemistry Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, whose prosperous family made flavors for food and beverages. The two men established the Torsion Balance and Scale Co. in 1882. This became the U.S. Torsion Balance Co. & Scale Co. in 1886, the Springer Torsion Balance Co. in 1887, and the Torsion Balance Co. in 1908. In 1891, the Committee on Science and the Arts of the Franklin Institute awarded the John Scott Legacy Premium and Medal to Roeder and Springer for their invention of the torsion balance. This is a small and very early example. The inscription on the base reads “TORSION BALANCE.” That on a tag reads “THE U.S. TORSION BALANCE & SCALE CO. / STYLE 270 NEW YORK NO. 316 / PATENTED AUG. 15, 1882.” This style was introduced in August 1886 and, with slight modifications, remained in production for some time. Ref: “A New Chemical Balance,” The Cincinnati Lancet and Clinic (Feb. 12, 1881): 162-163. Frederick A. Roeder, “Beam Scale,” U.S. Patent 262,905 (August 15, 1882), one half assigned to Alfred Springer. Frederick A. Roeder, “Platform Scale,” U.S. Patent 262,906 (August 15, 1882), one half assigned to Alfred Springer. William Kent, “The Torsion Balance,” Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 6 (1885): 636-654.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This hand balance has a 9-inch iron beam with index, and deep 4-inch pans made of bone.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
The Smithsonian acquired this example in 1919. The inscription on the base reads “TORSION BALANCE.” That on a tag reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 254 NEW YORK No. 99550 / PAT. JAN. 6. 85. JAN. 22. 89. MAY 19.91.” In 1890, the Springer Torsion Balance Co. boasted that the Style 254 was a very handsome and accurate Counter Scale that was nickel-plated throughout, that could be loaded with 20 pounds, that was sensitive to 2 grains, and that cost $30. In 1920, the Torsion Balance Co. noted that Style 254 was “Extensively used for heavy routine work in colleges and industrial plants.” At that time it had a capacity of 10 pounds, and was sensitive to 3 grains. Ref: The Springer Torsion Balance Co. ad in Druggists Circular and Chemical Gazette (Dec. 1, 1890): 68. The Torsion Balance Co., Chemical and Laboratory Balances (New York, 1920), p. 6.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This short-beam balance in a wooden frame with glass sides was probably made by C. Staudinger, a balance maker who began in business in Giessen in 1842, or by his successor, Wilhelm Spoerhase. An Arthur H. Thomas advertisement in Chemical Abstracts (1910) stated that Staudinger balances were “in use in nearly 300 Universities, Colleges, and Technical Schools in the United States and Canada,” and in some of these institutions there were “upwards of 50 instruments in actual use.” Ref: Arthur H. Thomas, Laboratory Apparatus (Philadelphia, 1912), pp. 18-20.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
This balance has 3-inch nickel-plated pans; a mahogany box with black glass slab, and hinged wood and glass cover; and metal tag that reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 277 / NO. 29539 / PAT. JAN. 9.85, JAN. 22. 89. MAY 19. 91.” The Torsion Balance Co., which began trading, as such, in 1908, described this model as a Class B scale for pharmaceutical, chemical and kindred work. Ref: The Torsion Balance Co., Balances and Scales (New York, 1934), p. 15

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
The frame is nickel-plated, with glass front and top. A tag on the back reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / NEW YORK. MADE IN U.S.A. / STYLE RX-1 NO. 11457 CAP. 120G / CLASS A APPROV TYPE SERIES.”

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
This torsion balance sits in a wood and glass case. A metal tag on the bottom reads: “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / NEW YORK / STYLE 266 NO. B570591 / CAPACITY 4 OZ. CLASS A MADE IN U.S.A.” The linear scale between the pans is graduated in grains and grams. Ref: The Torsion Balance Co., Balances and Scales. Catalog No. 39 (New York, ca. 1941), p. 10.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
This torsion balance has 3-inch nickel-plated pans; a mahogany box with black glass slab, and hinged wood and glass cover; and metal tag that reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 277 / NO. B 7048J / CAPACITY 4 OZ. / CLASS B MADE IN U.S.A.” The Torsion Balance Co. began trading, as such, in 1908, and described this model as a Class B scale for pharmaceutical, chemical and kindred work. Ref: The Torsion Balance Co., Balances and Scales (New York, 1934), p. 15

balance

National Museum of American History

balance

National Museum of American History

balance

National Museum of American History

Balance

National Museum of American History
This small balance has a 9-inch iron beam—inscribed “T. BEACH” on one side, and “BEACH” on the other—and two brass pans 5 inches diameter. The whole is held in a rectangular oak box. Thomas Beach was a balance maker in Birmingham, England. D. F. Crawforth-Hitchins, “Thomas Beach,” Equilibrium (1991-1992): 1499-1513, 1539-1548, 1572-1580.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
A brass tag on the white-glazed metal case reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 4551 NO. B951604 / CAPACITY 200 GRM MADE IN U.S.A.” The double linear scale in front, between the pans, is graduated in grains and milligrams. The firm described this style as a “Chemical and Laboratory Scale.” Ref: The Torsion Balance Co., Catalogue 38 (New York, 1934), p. 13.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
The metal tag on the front of the white metal case reads: “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 274 NEW YORK NO. 39746 / PAT. JAN. 6-85. JAN. 22-80. MAY 19-91.” A paper tag reads “CITY OF DETROIT.” The Torsion Balance Co. began trading as such in 1908, and referred to this style as a “Handy Druggists’ Scale.” Ref: The Springer Torsion Balance Co., Price List of Fine Scales and Weights (New York, 1900), p. 6.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This is an analytical balance with a 7-inch beam. The ivory index is marked “FISHER SCIENTIFIC CO. / PITTSBURGH, PA. U.S.A. / PAT’D. FEB. 28, 1938.” A tag at the top front of the case reads “THE LEVITT-FERGUSON CO. / LEFCO / SCIENTIFIC APPARATUS BALTIMORE, MD.”

Balance

National Museum of American History
This is an example of Troemner’s Analytical Balance No. 10 with aluminum beam, and wooden case with glass sides. The inscription on the ivory scale reads “MADE BY / HENRY TROEMNER / FOR / ARTHUR H. THOMAS CO. / PHILA.” Arthur H. Thomas described this, in 1921, as “a world-famous balance of a construction original with Henry Troemner, Philadelphia, on designs suggested by Mr. A. A. Blair, and for twenty-five years perhaps the most widely used high-grade analytical balance in many industrial laboratories, particularly in the iron and steel industry. From the standpoint of sensitivity, simple construction and durability, we recommend this balance for continuous and precise analytical work.” A paper label, under the base at front, reads “J. RUSSEL MARBLE & CO., 18-20 Poster, St. WORCESTER, MASS.” This label is also marked: “This balance is the personal property of JOHN PUTNAM MARBLE purchased 11/5/1935.” John Putnam Marble (1897-1955) was a chemist with a Ph.D. from Harvard University, who worked with the Committee for the Determination of Geologic Time, of the National Research Council. He was also an Associate in Mineralogy of the Smithsonian Institution. Ref: Arthur H. Thomas, Laboratory Apparatus and Reagents (Philadelphia, 1921), p. 50.

Torsion Balance

National Museum of American History
The Smithsonian acquired this example in 1919. The inscription on the base reads “THE TORSION BALANCE CO. / STYLE 269 NEW YORK NO. 102304 / PAT. JAN. 6. 85. JAN. 22. 89. MAY 19. 91.” That on the underside of the base reads “PAT 126.” The Springer Torsion Balance Co. advertised Style 269 as “The Favorite Prescription Scale,” noting that it had a “highly finished metal and glass case,” a capacity of 8 oz. and a sensitivity of 1/64 grains, and it cost $35. The Torsion Balance Co. later termed Style 269 “Our standard balance for pharmaceutical, chemical and kindred work,” noting that it then had a capacity of 4 oz. and a sensitivity of 1/32 grains. Ref: The Springer Torsion Balance Co. ad in Druggists Circular and Chemical Gazette (Dec. 1, 1890): 68. The Torsion Balance Co., Chemical and Laboratory Balances (New York, 1920), p. 4.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This hand balance has a 6-inch iron beam with index, 2.5-inch brass pans, one brass weight marked “FOUR PENNY WEIGHTS” and “STANDARD / DAY & CO.”, and rectangular wooden box.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This is a hand balance with a 6-inch iron beam, index, and 2.4-inch brass pans.

Balance

National Museum of American History
This is a large balance with a heavy 19-inch beam marked “H. TROEMNER / PHILADELPHIA.” The pans are 10 inches diameter.
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