Folding Balances


    This is a set of folding balances for weighing metal. They were cast in 2 piece clay moulds. They will hold up to about 300 grams. In use they seem to be accurate to within a gram or 2, which is probably commensurate with medieval examples. I think placing the pivot point on the beam instead of the needle would increase accuracy, however most medieval examples I see have it on the needle.



    The pans are of copper. Even though the arms were both cast using the same model, the balance was way off. I had to suspend a "take-up" weight on one of the pans for initial balance. I didnt know how it was done in period, however after I made them I found a picture of a complete Viking set which had similar little weights attached in like manner, so as usual the obvious solution is the correct one.

    Getting the arms to sit correctly was kindof tricky. From the examples I see, I dont think they were as concerned with it in period. Most of the examples I see as well have the needle as a seperate piece and rivited on instead of cast in one piece. I'm not entirely sure the reason behind this however my guess is that some of them were wrought from a bar instead of cast, which would necessitate that method of construction. Like much of medieval metalwork, their construction methods vary widely even though the form and/or finished product is fairly similar.



    I used a slight Anglo-Saxon look for these, however they were used virtually unchanged throughout the Middle Ages.