The Toledo Scale and Cash Register Co. was established in Toledo, Ohio, in 1901. Its first product was a pendulum-type scale based on a patent issued to Allen de Vilbiss, Jr. To differentiate this new design from the common spring scale, Henry Theobald, the president of the firm and a pioneer of modern advertising, coined the term “No Springs Honest Weight.”

After acquiring the Toledo Scale Co. in 1926, Hubert Bennett sought help from Norman Bel Geddes and other industrial designers. The Public Health Scale that the firm introduced in 1932, was a major success, earning the designers, Harold Van Doren and J. Gordon Rideout, a first award at the 1932 Art in Industry Exhibition. It had “dignified and attractive” proportions, and the indicator was so located that it could “be read with the greatest of ease” by the person on the scale, but not by passers-by.

The case of this example is made of Plaskon, a plastic material that the Toledo Scale Company introduced in 1931. The inscriptions read: “TOLEDO / PUBLIC HEALTH / SCALE / NO SPRINGS HONEST WEIGHT / TRADE MARK REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.” and “TOLEDO SCALE COMPANY / TOLEDO, OHIO U.S.A. / STYLE 8405A NO. 604559 / THIS DEVICE IS MANUFACTURED UNDER ONE / OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING UNITED / STATES PATENTS: 1,280,720 1,285,141 / 1,367,220 1,470,665 1,543,768 1,577,009 / 1,663,986 1,837,601 1,864,787 1,869,438 / PATENTS PENDING / 300 LBS. / 21895” and / “YOUR WEIGHT FREE.”

Ref: Jeffrey L. Meikle, “Weighing the Difference. Industrial Design at the Toledo Scale Company, 1925-50,” in Dennis P. Doordan, ed., The Alliance of Art and Industry: Toledo Designs for a Modern America (Toledo Museum of Art, 2002), pp. 128-151.

Timothy Messer-Kruse, “No Springs—Honest Weight. Toledo Scale Wins the Weight War,” Timeline: A Publication of the Ohio Historical Society 22 (2005): 2-17.

Date Made: after 1932Patent Publication Date: 1932-08-02

Maker: Toledo Scale Company

Place Made: United States: Ohio, Toledo

Subject: Weights & Measures


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0100.140Patent Number: 1,864,438Serial Number: 604559Accession Number: 2005.0100Catalog Number: 2005.0100.140

Object Name: Scale

Measurements: overall: 42 1/2 in x 12 in x 22 3/4 in; 107.95 cm x 30.48 cm x 57.785 cm


Record Id: nmah_1313429

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