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Published: 8/4/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago



Weighing the options


Toledo used to be home to several companies that were recognized internationally, and that list includes Toledo Scale.

The firm was founded in 1901, as the Toledo Computing Scale and Cash Register Company, and started with production of Allen DeVilbiss, Jr.’s computing scale invention, called the Toledo Fan Scale. By the late 1930s, Toledo Scale was the world’s largest manufacturer of automatic scales and precision force-measuring instruments.

This photo published February 1, 1935, shows the light duty scale assembly line at Toledo Scale Company. The shot was taken for a Toledo News-Bee feature on how porcelain enamel was applied to the scales. Great care was taken to keep the plant clean, as dirt, lint, and perspiration could cause defects in the porcelain.

After the scales were assembled, they had to be balanced. This final inspection and balancing process could take from 20 minutes to more than an hour, and the work could be tedious because it needed to be so deliberate. The machine would need to weigh accurately, and read the same, no matter where an object was placed on the platform. As the News-Bee noted, scale balancing was no job for the “terrible-tempered.” It cost the company $450 to train a scale-man in the rudiments of the exacting work. Years were required to make an expert.

Some of the old Toledo Scales are still around, and in operation. Some carry the Toledo Scale name, and others feature its motto: “No Springs – Honest Weight.”

In 1968, Toledo Scale was purchased by Reliance Electric Company and operations eventually moved to Columbus. The Swiss firm of Mettler Instrumente AG bought the company from Reliance in 1989, and still operates as Mettler-Toledo International Inc.

Go to toledoblade.com/​Memories to purchase photos by our award-winning staff of photographers, past and present.

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