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Home » How to Accurately Identify Antique Fairbanks Scales and Spot Fakes

How to Accurately Identify Antique Fairbanks Scales and Spot Fakes

Introduction To Antique Fairbanks Scales: A Brief History And Importance

It was in 1830 when Thaddeus Fairbanks, a skilled mechanic, and inventor, established the Fairbanks Scale Company in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Driven by his interest in precise measurement tools and instruments that lead him to develop innovative weighing systems. Later his creations would revolutionize the industry.

One of the most significant contributions of Fairbanks was the invention of the platform scale. This scale featured a large weighing platform that could accommodate heavy objects. This groundbreaking design was a major advancement from the traditional balance scales that were commonly used at the time.

Fairbanks’ platform scale quickly gained popularity for its accuracy and ability to weigh large loads. With time it became the ideal scale of use for industries such as mining, agriculture, and transportation. These scales were known for their robust construction, precise measurements, and durability.

By the late 19th century, Fairbanks Scales were recognized as a leader in the weighing industry. The company expanded its product line to include various types of scales, such as railroad track scales, platform scales, counting scales, and grain scales. With a rich history spanning more than 190 years, Fairbanks Scales has built a reputation for excellence. The company remains a trusted choice for industries requiring precise weight measurements.

Understanding Key Features: Identifying Authentic Antique Fairbanks Scales

Antique Fairbanks scales are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. This is due to their historical significance and exquisite craftsmanship. However, identifying an original antique Fairbanks scale can be a bit challenging. The market is flooded with replicas and reproductions. For antique Fairbanks scale identification, it is crucial to understand some of the key features that define an authentic antique Fairbanks scale. 

One of the primary aspects to consider when identifying an authentic Fairbanks scale is its overall design and construction. Genuine antique scales from the Fairbanks company were typically made with high-quality materials such as cast iron or brass. These materials were durable and could withstand heavy use over extended periods of time. Pay close attention to the weight platform, balance beam, and housing components for signs of wear or aging that indicate authenticity.

Furthermore, to identify authentic Fairbanks scales examine the markings on it for clues about its origin and age. Authentic antique Fairbanks scales often bear the manufacturer’s marks or logos. Also, look for engravings or raised lettering on various parts of the scale, including the base or frame, indicating “Fairbanks,” “Fairbanks Scale Co,” or other relevant information related to the production by the company.

Another important feature to consider is the presence of any unique design elements that were characteristic of Fairbanks scales during specific eras. For instance, early models from the late 19th century often featured intricate scrollwork or floral motifs on their housings or balance beams. Similarly, later models may exhibit art deco influences with streamlined designs and geometric patterns.

Inspecting any accompanying documentation can also provide valuable insights into an antique Fairbanks scale’s authenticity. Original receipts, certificates of authenticity from reputable experts in antiques, or documentation tracing its provenance back to the Fairbanks company can help with antique Fairbanks scale identification. Lastly, consult reputable sources such as antique catalogs, reference books, or online resources dedicated to antique scales. These resources often contain detailed information about specific Fairbanks’ models and variations. When you cross-reference your scale’s features with these references, you can gain a deeper understanding of its authenticity and historical context.

Researching Serial Numbers And Manufacturer’s Marks: Tracing The Origins Of Your Scale

When it comes to identifying antique Fairbanks scales, researching serial numbers and manufacturer’s marks can be an invaluable tool in tracing the origins of the scale. Serial numbers are unique identifiers assigned to each scale during production, and they can provide crucial information about its age and history. To begin your research, locate the serial number on your Fairbanks scale, which is typically engraved or stamped on a metal plate attached to the body or base.

Once you have found the serial number, consult various resources such as antique reference books, online databases, or Fairbanks Scale company archives to gather information about the specific model and its manufacturing period. These resources often provide details like production dates and variations in design over time.   

Examining Materials And Construction Techniques: Clues To Determine Age And Rarity

When it comes to identifying antique Fairbanks scales, one of the most crucial factors to consider is examining the materials and construction techniques used in their creation. By closely inspecting these aspects, collectors, and enthusiasts can gain valuable insights into the scale’s age and rarity. The first clue lies in the materials used for construction. Early Fairbanks scales were typically made from cast iron or brass, while later models incorporated more steel.

Paying close attention to construction techniques can offer valuable hints about a scale’s age. Earlier models were often assembled using hand-forged screws or rivets, while later versions utilized machine-made screws and bolts. Hand-forged elements suggest an older vintage, while machine-made components indicate a more recent production. 

Consulting Experts And Reference Guides: Resources For Accurate Antique Fairbanks Scale Identification

Consulting experts and reference guides is an invaluable resource when it comes to accurately identifying antique Fairbanks scales. These professionals possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field, making them a reliable source for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Experts in antique scales can provide valuable insights into the different models, variations, and time periods of Fairbanks scales. They can offer guidance on identifying unique features, distinguishing genuine antiques from reproductions or later models, and assessing the condition and value of a particular scale.

Reference guides specifically dedicated to Fairbanks scales are also essential tools for antique Fairbanks scale identification. These comprehensive publications often include detailed photographs, historical information, production dates, serial numbers, and other pertinent details that aid in accurate identification.

Additionally, online forums or communities focused on antique scales may have knowledgeable members who can provide guidance based on their own experiences with Fairbanks scales. Engaging with these communities allows for the exchange of information and the opportunity to ask questions about specific characteristics or markings that may be found on an antique scale.

Antique and vintage scales come in a wide variety of types. They each have their own unique features and design. Here is an explanation of various types of scales:

Equal Arm Scale: Also known as a beam scale, this scale has two pans suspended from a central beam or rod, which is balanced at the center.

Unequal Arm (Bismar) Also referred to as the Bismar scale, the unequal arm scale has pans of different sizes attached to a beam. The longer arm holds the object being weighed, while the shorter arm holds counterweights. The scale’s mechanism allows for the comparison of weights by observing the position of the beam when balanced.

Counterbalance Scale: This scale features a beam or rod with a single pan at one end and counterweights at the other. The counterweights are moved across the beam until equilibrium is reached, indicating the weight of the object on the pan. These scales are often used to weigh heavy objects.

Steelyard Scale: An ancient type of scale that consists of a hanging arm with a sliding weight and a hook or platform at one end. By sliding the weight along the arm, the user can find the position where the scale balances and determines the weight of the object being measured.

Spring Scale: This scale uses a coiled spring to determine the weight of an object. As the weight is applied to the spring, it stretches or compresses, and the scale provides a reading on a marked scale to indicate the weight.

Hanging Scale: Also called a crane scale, it has a hook or loop from which the object to be weighed is suspended.

Pendulum Scale: A pendulum scale incorporates a swinging pendulum to determine weight. The object to be weighed is placed on one side of the scale, causing the pendulum to swing. The pendulum then calibrates to provide an accurate weight measurement.

These various types of scales have been developed and refined over centuries. Uses to cater to specific weighing needs and applications, these weighing scales have demonstrated the ingenuity and innovation of human craftsmanship.

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