This scientific instrument was used in the past to effectively calculate the percentage weight of a sack of grain in pounds per bushel after the grain husk, dust and dirt was removed; thereby establishing the true value of the sack being measured. This was clearly important if you were in the business of buying or selling wheat, barley or rye etc.
The instrument itself is cased within a mahogany box with two swivel catches to operate the lid. This would have made it easy and safe to transport between venues such as market places and farms. The box then forms the steadying base for the instrument when it is set up for use. The brass elements include an upright which acts as a fulcrum, screwing into a hole on the lid of the box, onto which a calibrated balance bar is placed. A measured amount of grain from the sack being tested is placed into the brass bucket attached to one end of the balance bar. The measurement of the weight of grain can then be read from the calibrations on the bar, and the quality of the grain in the sack is thereby established.
Such instruments were manufactured and used from the 19th century onwards – this particular one probably dates from the turn of the 20th century and is not as finely made as some. Although not marked, this was probably made by a company specialising in such items – such as Corcoran’s in London.