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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 he acquired 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.
In this example, the case 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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
after 1932
patent publication date
Toledo Scale Company
place made
United States: Ohio, Toledo
overall: 42 1/2 in x 12 in x 22 3/4 in; 107.95 cm x 30.48 cm x 57.785 cm
ID Number
patent number
serial number
accession number
catalog number
Weights & Measures
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Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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