Scales & Gauges

Museum Artifact: Altitude Correction Computer, c. 1945

Made By: G. Felsenthal & Sons, 4100 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL [Humboldt Park]

“No sign posts on the mountains . . . no concrete highways in the soup . . . no rocky peak so kind it steps aside to let a plane go by. Yet, with the navigational instruments precision made by Felsenthal, in Felsenthal Plastics, Army Airmen fly the toughest country...

Museum Artifact: 25 LB Kitchen Scale, c. 1950s

Made by: American Family Scale Co., 515 S. Laflin St., Chicago, IL [University Village]

A television metaphor might not be entirely apropos for the time period, but when the American Family Scale Company was established in 1928, it was essentially a  “spin-off” of Chicago's venerable American Cutlery Company. In fact, all the classic hallmarks of a TV...

Museum Artifact: Triner Precision Postal Scale, 1910

Made By: Triner Scale & MFG Co., 2714 W. 21st St., Chicago, IL [Little Village]

It’s a rare treat that an artifact from the Made In Chicago Museum can actually introduce itself in its own words, but such is the case with our Triner “Precision” 4LB postal scale. When this design was first patented and sent to market in 1906, it was promoted in tra...

Museum Artifacts: A pair of Redington Counting Machines, c. 1920s and 1930s

Made By: F.B. Redington Co., 112 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL [West Loop]

Lazy Workmen Weeded Out,” read the tagline of a 1919 advertisement for the Redington Counting Machine—a device that’s still used in factories (in a digital format) nearly 100 years later.

“Find out the lazy workman operating your machines by checking...

Museum Artifact: VAL-A Egg Scale, c. 1930s

Made By: VAL-A Company, 700 W. Root St., Chicago, IL [Canaryville]

Weighing a hundred eggs one-by-one on a galvanized metal doohickey might seem crazily inefficient, if not entirely unnecessary. But for any humble farmer / chicken coop owner of the early to mid 20th century, egg scales like this one were must-have tools of the trade. Today, they can pass...

Museum Artifact: Hanson No. 24 U.S. Family Scale, c. 1900

Made By: Hanson Bros. Scale Company, 427 W. Randolph St. / 525 N. Ada Street, Chicago IL [West Town]

"Judging from the large increase in orders reported by the Hanson Bros. Manufacturing Company, 18-30 Randolph street, dealers and jobbers are finding the U.S. family scale a very profitable, quick-selling article to handle. The Hanson Brothe...

Museum Artifact: Bakelite Galvanometer,  1960s

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Made By: W. M. Welch Scientific Co., 1515 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, IL [Old Town]

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Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Triner Scale & MFG Co., 2714 W. 21st St., Chicago, IL [Little Village]

This curvaceous postal scale from the Triner Scale & MFG Co. has a copyright of 1963 on the dial, but it doesn't necessarily mean the scale itself was built that year. By the mid-century, Triner was equipping its "Ideal" and "Superior" U.S. mail scales with replaceable plastic dials. That way, when the government decided to go...

Museum Artifact: Victor Interval Timer, 1920s

Made By: Victor X-Ray Corporation, 2012 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL [Near West Side]

As company names go, the word “Victor” is so ubiquitous—particularly in early 20th century circles—that it basically cancels out the concept of brand recognition. The most famous Victor of the era, the Victor Talking Machine Company of New Jersey (est. 1901), was at...

Museum Artifact: Ritz Stick Foot Measure, c. 1920s

Made by: American Automatic Devices Co. / King Bee MFG Co, 500-530 S. Throop St., Chicago, IL [Near West Side]

When a stick of any kind becomes culturally relevant enough to have its own name, we tend to ascribe it a simple, self-descriptive one: match stick, hockey stick, joy stick. A rare exception is the Ritz Stick, a 100 year-old device that’s...

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United Razor Blade Corp.

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