Ideal No. 2 Postal Scale by Triner Scale & MFG Co., 1963


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 nuts and increase postal rates, a person could merely send away for a new dial rather than an entirely new device. This was slightly before the electronification of weights and measures made the whole conversation moot.


[For a full in-depth history of the Triner Scale Company and its founder James Triner, see our main Triner page. For more on the Ideal No. 2 scale, continue below]


After a major rate hike in 1958, for example, the Tribune reported that the Triner Scale & MFG Co. was being "deluged with new orders." The company president at the time, Theodore T. Jansey, said that "38,000 post offices throughout the country" had requested new scales, and that there were "more than a half million" additional Triner scales already in use that would require new charts with the updated rates.


Clearly, in the old snail-mail scale business, you had to stay on your toes. Otherwise, yesterday's laser-accurate weigh-in could be tomorrow's costly shipping screw-up.


When it came to the actual design and mechanics of Triner scales, however, there was considerably less evolution going on. Looking at the two ads below featuring "Ideal" mail scales, you'll notice that the first, from 1908, looks basically the same as the second, dating from 1956.




It's quite the testament to the quality of company founder James M. Triner's original schematics that his company barely deviated from those designs even decades after his passing in 1939. The 1908, 1956, and 1963 Ideal scales are all based on a 1904 patent in which Mr. Triner introduced "certain new and useful improvements in weighing scales."


The main goal, he wrote, was "to provide means whereby the weight or material to be weighed may be supported by any one of a plurality of different resistances, or, in other words, by any one of of a plurality of resistance members capable of sustaining different degrees of stress or tension for supporting the weight whereby the resistance member having the lesser degree of resistance may be utilized for weighing light objects, such as mail matter, and resistance member having the greater degree of resistance may be utilized for weighing heavier objects or material, thus greatly increasing the weighing capacity of the scale without increasing the range of movement of the index or pointer. . . Another object of my invention is to improve and simplify the construction of the scale-frame and mechanism whereby its cost of manufacture may be considerably reduced and its operation rendered more efficient." --James M. Triner



It'd be nice if the same efficiency applied to the scale could be applied to the patent language itself, but such is the nature of the beast.


To put it simply, the Ideal Scale (along with its cousins the "Gem" and "Superior") was a super lightweight, easy-to-use tool that helped people avoid over-spending on postage. The simple spring scale could effectively compute the correct 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class, or 1st Class Air-Mail postage cost for your everyday letters, books, magazines, merchandise, etc. up to 2 LBS.


In 1963, the domestic postal rate had just kicked up from 4 cents per oz. to 5 cents. So the owner of the scale in our collection might have purchased either the scale or dial in '63 to adjust to the new rules.


As the official postal scale of the United State Post Office, Triner would (and still does) play both sides of the industry in a way. One one hand, the company touted its reliability to the government as a way to make sure the public paid what they owe to ship items. On the other hand, Triner also promoted its products heavily to the private sector, showing businesses how much money they waste by not handling their mail properly.


"Mail users, and especially Parcel Post users, donate more than a million dollars—EVERY YEAR—to the U.S. Post Office Department by using excess postage because of inaccurate scales," a 1956 Triner promo sheet read. By contrast, of course, "Triner scales have a reputation for quickly paying for themselves through time and postage saving. If your mail clerk uses a Triner Scale, he has full confidence in its Post Office Accuracy. It does away with the tendency to waste extra postage."


The Triner Scale & Manufacturing Company was founded in Chicago in 1903 and remains in business today, though the longtime factory at 2714 W. 21st Street was abandoned in the '90s when the company relocated to Memphis.


To get a more complete history on Triner's early Chicago days and the saga of its mastermind, the Czech immigrant James Triner, check out our main Triner Scale Co. page, featuring another artifact from our collection: a Triner "Precision" Postal Scale, circa 1910.












Please reload

Lost Chicago Factory Map

Help Support the

Made In Chicago Project

Artifact Categories
Company Histories

A.B. Dick Company

A.L. Hansen MFG Co.

Abbott Laboratories

Ace Fastener Corp.

Adams & Westlake Co.

Addometer Co.

Addressograph Company

Adjustable Clamp Co.

Admiral Corp.

Airguide Instrument Co.

Albert Dickinson Co.

Albert Pick & Co.

Allied MFG Co.

American Automatic Devices Co.

American Bird Products Inc.

American Cutlery Co.

American Family Scale Co.

American Flyer MFG Co.

American Metal Ware Co.

American Shoe Polish Co.

American Varnish Co.

Ampro Corporation

Anacin Company

Angel Dainty Dye Co.

Armour and Company

Arrco Playing Card Co.

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co.

B. Heller & Co.

Bally MFG Co.

Bambino Products Co.

Bell & Howell

Benjamin Electric MFG Co.

Bersted MFG Co.

Bloomfield Industries

Bremner Biscuit Company

Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.

Bunte Brothers Candy

Burke & James

C. Cretors & Co.

C. H. Hanson Company

Cable Piano Company

Cadaco Inc.

Calculator Machine Company

California Beverage Co.

Calumet Baking Powder Co.

Carl Goldberg Models Inc.

Central Waxed Paper Co.

Central Wholesale Grocers Inc.

Chas. A. Brewer & Sons

Chess Records

Chicago Electric MFG Co.

Chicago Flexible Shaft Co.

Chicago Hardware Foundry Co.

Chicago Mail Order Co.

Chicago Printed String Co.

Chicago Roller Skate Co.

Chicago Specialty MFG Co.

Chicago Telephone Supply Co.

Citation Hat Co.

Citrus Products Co.

Claire MFG Co.

Clipper Products Co.

Columbia Medallion Studios

Compco Corp.

Cracker Jack Company

Crane Company

Curt Teich & Co.

Curtiss Candy Co.

D.B. Fisk & Co.

Dad's Root Beer Co.

Damon MFG Co.

Denoyer-Geppert Co.

Detect-O-Ray Company

DeVry Corporation

Ditto Incorporated

Dowst Brothers Company

E.B. Millar & Co.

E.C. DeWitt & Co., Inc.

E.H. Sargent & Co.

E.J. Brach & Sons

E.K. Pond Company

Ekco Products Co.

Electric Clock Corp. of America

Electric Corp. of America

Elgin National Watch Co.

Empire Spice Mills

Essanay Film Mfg. Co.

Eugene Dietzgen Co.

Excel Projector Corp.

F.B. Redington Co.

F.H. Smith MFG Co.

F.W. Planert & Sons

Fidelitone Inc.

Fitzpatrick Bros.

Flavour Candy Co.

Florsheim Shoe Company

Foley & Co.

G. Felsenthal & Sons

Gateway Engineering Co.

General Television & Radio Corp.

Geo. B. Carpenter Co.

Geo. W. Diener MFG Co.

Gold Eagle Products Co.

Grossman MFG Co.

Hallicrafters Co.

Halsam Products Co.

Halsey Brothers Co.

Hammond Organ Co.

Hanson Scale Co.

Harmony Company

Hedman MFG Co.

Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.

Hump Hair Pin MFG Co.

Illinois Bronze Powder Co.

Illinois Cosmetics Co.

Indestro MFG Co.

J.C. Deagan Co.

J.P. Dieter Co.

J.W. Allen & Co.

Jas. P. Marsh Corp.

Jays Foods, Inc.

Johnson Publishing Co.

Kelling Nut Company

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply

Kling Bros. & Co.

Kraft Foods Company

L. H. Thomas Co.

Langson MFG Co.

Liberty Dairy Products Co.

Lincoln Logs

Ludwig Drum Co.

Lyon & Healy

M.A. Donohue & Co.

Mall Tool Company

Mars Incorporated

MasterCrafters Clock & Radio Co.

Maybelline Company

Metal Moss MFG Co.

Mid City Uniform Cap Co.

Monark Silver King Inc.

Morton Salt Company

Motorola Inc.

National Washboard Co.

Nestor Johnson MFG Co.

Northwestern Beverage Co.

O-Cedar Corp.

Oliver Typewriter Co.

Olson Rug Co.

Page Boiler Company

Paymaster Corp.

Peerless Confection Co.

Pelouze Scale & MFG Co.

Peter Hand Brewing Co.

Playskool MFG Co.

Princess Pat Ltd.

QRS Music Company

Radio Flyer

Rand McNally & Co.

Reed Candy Company

Regal Musical Instrument Co.

Reid, Murdoch & Co.

Reliable Paste Co.

Replogle Globes, Inc.

Revere Camera Company

Rival Packing Co.

Rock-Ola MFG Corp.

S&C Electric Co.

Sanford Ink Company

Scholl MFG Co.

Schulze Baking Company

Schwinn Bicycle Co.

Sherman-Klove Co.

Shotwell MFG Co.

Shure Brothers, Inc.

Signode Steel Strapping Co.

Simoniz Company

Simonsen Metal Products Co.

Slingerland Drum Company

Spartus Camera Corp.

Sprague, Warner & Co.

Standard Brewery

Steele-Wedeles Company

Stenographic Machines, Inc.

Stewart-Warner Corp.

Stone Medicine Co.

Sunbeam Corp.

Swanberg MFG Co.

Swedish-American Telephone Co.

T.C. Gleason MFG Co.


Triner Scale & MFG Co.

Turner Brass Works

Turtle Wax Inc.

U-C Lite MFG Co.

Union Publishing House

United Razor Blade Corp.

Universal Medicine Co.

Vail MFG Co.

Val-A Company

Valmor Products Co.

Van Cleef Brothers

Vaughan Novelty MFG Co.

Vee-Jay Records

Victor Adding Machine Co.

Victor X-Ray Corporation

W.D. Allen MFG Co.

W.F. McLaughlin & Co.

W.M. Welch Scientific Co.

Webster-Chicago Corp.


Western Electric Co.

Western Fluorescent Light Co.

White Cap Co.

William Cooper & Nephews Inc.

Williamson Candy Co.

Wilson Jones Company

Wilson Sporting Goods

Wm. E. Pratt MFG Co.

Wm. Meyer Co.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company

Woodstock Typewriter Company

Zenith Radio Corp.

Zeno MFG Co.


If you have any insights on this company and its history, or corrections about the details above, please share them below to help us tell a better story.

More Resources


© 2020 by Andrew Clayman. Created with