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Sets of scales with weights, Iran, 1801-1900

This elaborately decorated box contains three sets of equal balance arm scales and weights. Equal balance arm scales suspend two disk shaped pans off either end of a horizontal pole. The weights in either pan must be equal for the pole to remain horizontal. Ingenious locking mechanisms reveal hidden aspects of the box. A spring-loaded button releases a small removable box containing a tiny set of scales, and removing a delicate pin reveals a hidden mirror. This example of boxed weighing scales dates from 1800s Iran. It was used in the medicine and jewellery trades. Both trades required the precise measurements of goods.

Object number:

A128419

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Glossary:

Glossary: measurement

Measurement is the process of estimating the magnitude of some attribute of an object, such as its length or weight, relative to some standard (unit of measurement), such as a meter or a kilogram. The act of measuring usually involves using a measuring instrument, such as a ruler, weighing scale, thermometer or speedometer which is calibrated to compare the measured attribute to a measurement unit. Metrology is the scientific study of measurement.

Glossary: scales - weighing device

Instruments for determining the weight of objects or substances.