Whether you use a body weighing scale to find out your weight or opt for a kitchen model to measure the ingredients in your new recipe, weighing scales have evolved massively in the past decades, and they seem more useful than ever.

In some ways, scales have been used since the beginning of time for trading purposes. The Romans and all other ancient civilizations had their own measurement techniques that were applied to find the weight of produce, metals, and other things.

After that, the scale was used as a measuring unit for all the products that were traded in the kingdom. If you’re interested in learning more about scales and their history, here is everything you need to know.


Ancient history

The oldest discoveries in the field seem to date back over 4000 years ago, around the year 2000 B.C. The first weighing scales were originally balances, using a central pole and two plates attached to an overhead beam. This rudimentary instrument was used as a measuring unit for all products that needed to be weighed, from foods to metals, and more.

The remains of such an instrument were found in today’s Pakistan. The balance was considered a very accurate form of weighing if you played by the book. However, the Celts found a way of cheating when they were negotiating with the Romans.

Nevertheless, the instrument didn’t know any major improvements until the end of the 18th century, at the beginning of the industrial era.


Modern history

In the 1770s, a British balance maker named Richard Salter was the one who invented the spring scale that finally replaced the counter-weight mechanism.

This new product was intended to measure the pressure or the tension exerted on a spring in order to calculate the weight of a different object. These items are used in modern days as well although they have been gradually replaced with the digital models which are more accurate.

Nowadays, there are numerous brands and producers of electronic scales, so you can easily find the product that will best suit your needs, according to your budget and demands.

Different types of weighing scales

As we previously mentioned, scales can be used for a wide array of purposes, depending on your needs. However, the most common product remains the home weighing scale that allows you to measure your body weight and determine whether or not you need to go on a diet.

This digital product can also be used to indicate your body fat, lean mass, BMI, water ratio, and muscle mass. Later on, based on the information, you can create a customized diet and workout routine to lose weight, gain more muscle mass, and improve your lifestyle. Generally, these scales can weigh up to 350-400 pounds, depending on their limitations.

Another popular item is the luggage weighing scale mainly used in airports or in any other place where there is a luggage limitation policy. These products usually resemble the ones used in the comfort of your own home, except they’re bigger.

Kitchen scales are more accurate as their error index is smaller. These products are extremely useful especially for kitchen newbies who are stressed about pouring too much of a product and, therefore, messing with the final results. The scales are mainly designed to weight up to 10-11 pounds.

There are also finer scales used in the pharmaceutical or cosmetic industry where errors should be minimized as much as possible. Needless to say that a higher dosage could have massive implications for the human life and could cause life-threatening side effects or body reactions.

Usually, pharmaceutical scales don’t allow tolerance for more than 5% error, but this depends on how sensitive and powerful the substance is.

Lastly, one of the most accurate scales existent are the ones used to measure precious metals or extremely rare and lightweight items.



But how do you exactly calculate these errors and, most importantly, why do they appear? Keep in mind that there are various external and internal factors that can cause a scale to become less accurate in time.

The most common source of error is the miscalibration that occurs due to temperature changes or drift in the circuit’s accuracy. Other sources of error can include magnetic fields, electrostatic fields, chemical reactions, evaporation of water, gravitational differences or vibrations.



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