U.S. Standard Weights

U.S. Standard Weights

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
These cylindrical brass weights are part of a set of standards prepared by the United States government. They weigh one pound Troy, one pound, two pounds, three pounds, four pounds, five pounds, ten pounds, and twenty pounds. A knob at the top of each weight makes it easier to lift. The set also includes a weight lifter.
All the knobs are stamped with an image of an American eagle. Those in this set, except for the Troy weight, are marked: 69. A mark on the knob for the Troy weight reads: 9.
The weights fit into cavities in a velvet-lined wooden case. The amount of each weight is indicated on a paper tag attached to the base of the corresponding cavity.
The United States government began distributing weights to the states in about 1845. When the weights were transferred to the Smithsonian from the Bureau of Standards in 1929, correspondence in the files suggests that they were of the type distributed before the Civil War.
Accession File.
Currently not on view
Object Name
weight set
Object Type
date made
ca 1850
United States Office of Weights and Measures
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
2 lb. weight: 2 1/16 in x 2 1/16 in; 5.23875 cm x 5.23875 cm
2 lb. weight knob: 5/8 in; 1.5875 cm
troy weight: 1 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in; 3.81 cm x 3.81 cm
1 lb. weight knob: 7/16 in; 1.11125 cm
troy weight knob: 1/2 in; 1.27 cm
1 lb. weight: 1 5/8 in x 1 5/8 in; 4.1275 cm x 4.1275 cm
overall in case: 9 1/4 in x 11 1/8 in x 17 1/2 in; 23.495 cm x 28.2575 cm x 44.45 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Transfer from U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Standards
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Measuring & Mapping
Metric System
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object