Ideal Postal Scale weighs in style

While visiting an antique mall in New Braunfels, Texas, last month, I saw several postal scales of varying sizes and designs. One in particular caught my eye, and although I didn’t purchase it during that visit because I thought it was priced a bit too high, I later returned and made a lower offer which was accepted.

Ideal Postal Scale
Ideal Postal Scale

The basic design of this Ideal Postal Scale, which can accommodate items weighing up to two pounds, has been around for well over a century. The label on the front of the scale has markings for each ounce, but instead of simply having a number indicating each ounce, the label indicates lists what was at the time of its manufacture the appropriate amount of postage for each step up in weight.

Ideal Postal Scale label
Ideal Postal Scale label

By consulting a reference book that I purchased earlier this year—U.S. Domestic Postal Rates, 1872–2011 (Third Edition), by Henry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz—I’ve concluded the scale dates to the latter half of the 1920s.

Although the 2¢ per ounce rate used for first-class mail was in effect from the 1880s on until 1932, the rates listed for other classes of mail indicate that rate changes introduced in 1925 had already come into effect.

Granted, this scale can’t handle heavier packages like modern digital scales can, but I can certainly weigh my outgoing mail and small parcels in style!

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