A lifetime of collecting weighing scales has come to fruition with today’s opening of a display of more than 200 scales at Feilding’s Coach House Museum.
The Antique and Retro Scales collection, owned by long time museum supporter Kelvin Humphrey, is the culmination of more than 50 years of collecting different scales from New Zealand and overseas.
He told people attending the opening that he even had about half a dozen scales before he married, and many had been stored in boxes for 30-40 years unseen.
The collection covers all types of scales from cradle scales for measuring infants, and Plunket nurse suitcase scales, to stand-up adult weighing machines. There are butchers’ stock, and meat scales; scales for measuring fruit, and nails in hardware stores.
There is a big selection of kitchen scales, ones we have all used over many years in everyday baking; bathroom scales; and other household uses’ scales.
There are tiny to large sized scales for measuring anything from gold and gems, through to humans and livestock.
There are many items in the collection of special significance to Kelvin, including scales he bought in Nepal in 1942 and has the sales docket to prove he then paid 406 Nepal rupee; to a balance scales which would make the 150th anniversary of gold mining in Otago.
Scales have been around since early Egyptian and Roman days and were initially introduced to stop people cheating weights of things like gold and jewels, and to more accurately weigh consumer products ranging from fruit, to hardware items like nails and screws.
The most common scale found in New Zealand homes is the spring scale invented by Richard Salter, a British balance maker, around 1770. Spring scales were common in most households, particularly with the kitchen scales, and latterly they have been replaced with digital scales.
Brian Hunter (right) congratulates Kelvin Humphrey on the collection of the scales, and his extensive display, at the official opening.
121 South Street,