I'm sure the history of balance scales goes back to antiquity. Torsion and spring scales are relatively recent innovations. This is a utility or general purpose scale and could have been used in a photographic darkroom to weigh chemicals. The scale could be cataloged under 'scientific instrument' although it is not a full-on analytical (laboratory) scale. It is a charming antique that provides a wistful bit of nostalgia for simpler days.
Circa: The scale has decorative features that indicate manufacture prior to about 1910. The scale is primarily machine-made and does not date any earlier than about 1890.
Provenance: This was a gift for my daughter's birthday in 1986 from Ida Mannheim (Mannheim Gallery) .
Condition: The overall condition is as you would expect from an object of substantial age that has been displayed/handled/used, usually over the lifetimes of several owners.
Appraiser Tips: Being a type of scientific instrument, the scale should be as clean as possible if it is going to be put to use. Use Armor-All on the brass and furniture polish on the wood. If any of the black (ebony) is off the edge of the base, touch up with a bit of model paint.
Unique Collectibles, Antiques and Fine Arts from Around the World
Never the ordinary...unique items chosen over the last 50 years of travel around the world.