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This resembles the reversible steelyard described in the 1869 patent issued to Peter H. Walker, a Boston merchant who sold scales, balances and other hardware. The inscription at the short end of the beam reads “P. H. WALKER BOSTON.” The patent claimed “The employment, for the purpose of suspending the weight from a reversible scale-beam, of a tubular sliding cross-head, which encircles and fits the beam, and upon which the weight is hung, substantially in the manner and for operation as herein shown and described, so that when the beam is reversed, the position of the weight may be correspondingly changed without removing the cross-head from the beam, or the weight from the cross-head.”
Ref: Peter H. Walker, “Steelyard,” U.S. Patent 97,839 (Dec. 14, 1869).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
around 1870
Walker, P. H.
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
steelyard: 300 mm x 32 mm x 420 mm; 11 13/16 in x 1 1/4 in x 16 9/16 in
poise: 163 mm x 58 mm; 6 7/16 in x 2 5/16 in
overall; steelyard: 16 1/2 in x 4 in x 1 7/8 in; 41.91 cm x 10.16 cm x 4.7625 cm
overall; weight: 4 3/8 in x 2 1/2 in; 11.1125 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood
Weights & Measures
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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