Produced by the French industrial factory, Usines de La Mulatiere Lyon, circa 1870, this large scale is known as a bascule Romaine, or “Roman seesaw”. It was originally designed to support up to 1000 kilograms (slightly more than a ton).
The inner mechanisms, which are based on the patent by Joseph Béranger, are contained behind two large plates connected via five large hex bolts. The front plate has the brass manufacturer’s plaque, which is stamped “1255”, possibly a production or patent number. It is also marked with a crown above a star. Béranger balances were displayed at the London Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851, and the New York Crystal Palace exhibition of 1853.
A robust circular counterweight, affixed by another large hex bolt, extends to the side of the plates. On the opposite side is a long horizontal bar with a sliding weight adjuster. A tripartite hook hangs below. Beneath the two plates is a large hook that would have been used to hold the weights. At the top of the plates is an eyelet that functions with a long double-sided hook to suspend the scale above the ground.
Today, this scale can make for an attractive and unique decorative piece. The polished steel and brass is in good condition, and the lower hook could be used to hang another object, such as large basket of flowers.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use, with minor buildup and rubs. Scale’s functionality is unknown. Light oxidation and losses, specifically to the manufacturer’s plaque. Please see photos for details.