A Brief History of Scales and Balances
People have always been fascinated with commerce and trade, even before the development of money and financial systems, let alone entire economies. To estimate fair and accurate values for objects, like those made of gold or other precious metals, or to measure quantities, like accurate amounts of flour or other foods, scales became necessary.
The first known scale was used around 3500 BCE by the Egyptians. The basic form was the simple balance often associated with the Lady of Justice -- two pans that balance when mass is equal between the two. Two thousand years later, a simple improvement had been added to ensure the two pans of the balance were, indeed, level. This improvement consisted of adding a plumb line.
In Rome, around the year 200 AD, an instrument was used that resembles a modern force gauge in that it has a hook and can be used to measure the gravitational pull of large objects. The instrument also had a shaft along which a weight could slide, also paving the path to the development of platform scales. These types of scales are often used to measure body weight in doctor's offices, as small weights slide horizontally along a shaft to grade reference weights.
Da Vinci, an amazing and prolific inventory, developed the first automatic balance by designing a graduated dial scale. More recently, force gauges, scales and balances have been tremendously improved upon and we continue that tradition with our line of Torbal Scales. For more information on which products are best suited for your needs, please contact us.