Antique scale collectors claim man is the measurer of all things

Members of the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors (ISASC) like to put a different spin on Greek philosopher Protagoras’ claim “Man is the measure of all things,” ISASC prefers “Man is the measurer of all things,” as they are a group of people interested in the historical study and conservation of the principles and antique devices used as measuring scales.

From the beginning, man found a need to quantify the world around him. The earliest civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley had uniform systems of weights and measures. The history of modern commerce can be traced back to these systems.

Although most of us seldom give it thought, weighing and measuring play an essential role in our daily lives. Shortly after birth we are weighed, and from that point on, our bodies, the food we eat and all the products we use are weighed and measured at some stage in their development.

antique scale, collecting antique technology, ISASCThis lot of four vintage household scales and three counterweights sold for $20 during a Sept. 24, 2011, auction held by Copake Auctions of Copake, N.Y.

If most of us do not pay much attention to weighing and measuring, the members of the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors are the exception. In 1976, a small group of dedicated collectors of scales and weights, from the United States, England, Germany and the Netherlands established the ISASC. From this modest beginning has evolved a worldwide organization of about 400 members. Members are located in North and South America, England, Europe, Australia and other countries around the world. The society’s purpose is to form friendships, promote the exchange of information, encourage preservation, study and exhibition to overall enhance the pleasures of vintage technology collecting.

Read more about collectors: How I Started Collecting: Reader’s reflect on their first experiences with collecting

Members receive a subscription to the Society’s quarterly journal: “Equilibrium,” which is recognized worldwide as a valuable reference in the field of metrology. The publication is filled with illustrated articles on the origin and history of scales, scales with unusual design or weighing principles and profiles of scale manufacturers.

Other membership services include reprints of old scale catalogs, access to out-of-print books, art works and special articles related to scales. A research and reply service is available to obtain information on a particular scale. Members enjoy a quarterly newsletter containing articles about the Society’s activities and notifications of scale auctions and private sales.

Every year the Society holds an annual convention so members can get together and share their common interest. The conventions are held over a four-day weekend each spring. The program includes social activities, illustrated lectures, field trips to prominent collections and a silent auction. The conventions are held in different cities throughout the United States making them easily accessible to the membership. In addition, regional meetings are organized during the year so members in a specific locale can meet more often.

ISASC is open to all and there is a junior membership available for young collectors. For information about membership benefits, a sample issue of “Equilibrium” and for a free membership application, visit the society’s website.

International Society of Antique Scale Collectors’ 2012 Annual Meeting and Convention

When: May 17-21, 2012
Where: Sheraton Station Square Hotel, 300 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
For more information: Bill James, convention chairman

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