Add-A-Count Scale

During the 1950s, the number of children in the United States grew rapidly. Several manufacturers introduced toys intended to communicate elementary ideas. The Add-A-Count scale, made by Child Guidance Toys of New York City, well illustrates this trend. The red, white, and blue plastic toy is a balance with weights in the form of numbers. The weight of the weight is proportional to the size of the number. Hence a "3" on one arm will balance a "2" and a "1" on the other. There are two weights for each digit from 1 to 5 and one weight for each digit from 6 to 9, making a total of 14 weights. The weights and scale fit in a paper box, which has on it a drawing of a girl playing with the toy. In the 1960s, the toy was sold by instrument dealers like Edmund Scientific Company of Barrington, New Jersey. It sold for $1.00—by 1968 the price was $1.50.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Child Guidance Toys
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
paper (case material)
overall: 8.8 cm x 21 cm x 17.7 cm; 3 7/16 in x 8 1/4 in x 6 15/16 in
place made
United States: New York, New York City
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Learning Arithmetic
Science & Mathematics
Arithmetic Teaching
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Learning Arithmetic
Arithmetic Teaching
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Uta C. Merzbach

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