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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Restoration Do's-Don'ts of Howe no. 12?


Bill and Jan,
I have a Howe no. 12 scale that has been at the family lumber yard for who knows how long. The business started in mid 1880's.  I notice the rejection notice by the state scale inspector was 1987, and Im sure was used 6 days a week until then.  Now I would like to restore it, but not sure how.  Can you give me some advice.  I just don't want to start in and find I am ruining it, or there was a much easier way? I'm thinking a lot of steel brush!  I'm just not sure how much work I'm in for.

Hi Bill,

The history of the Howe Scale Company may be found here:

We found your scale listed in our Howe 1896 catalog but it was manufactured by the company for many decades; at least well into the 1920s. Howe described their "Vermont Counter Scale" in 1896 as follows:  "Finished in vermillion and gold, highly ornamented. Nickel plated double beam and sliding poises.  Beam marked on both sides. Capacity, 1 ounce to 200 pounds. Platform, 15 x 12 inches. With agate bearings  and extra fine black and gold finish, extra $10.00. Seamless scoops furnished when ordered, at extra cost.

This scale can be used with or without scoop; has a large platform in proportion to counter room occupied. The beam being set back, will not interfere with high packages, and being placed above the cap can be easily read by both merchant and customer".

Most collectors with a scale like yours would probably sand or soda blast the scale, replate the beams and poises and repaint. Vermillion was a red orange color that these scales were originally painted.

Retail value in restored working condition might be $200-$500.

Hope this helps.

Weigh Daily!!!

Bill & Jan Berning  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Bill & Jan Berning


We can answer almost any question regarding antique scales of any type.


We are dealers in antique coin operated penny scales and parts. We collect antique scales of all types. Bill has been buying and selling scales and mail order penny scale parts since 1983. Jan started collecting small scales of all types in 1977. Our combined collection of antique scales contains over 2200 scales. We are the authors of the book Scales: A Collector's Guide and The revised & Expanded 2nd Edition of Scales: A Collector's Guide. Jan is the editor of "Equilibrium" the journal of The International Society of Antique Scale Collectors. Our website is

The International Society of Antique Scale Collectors, Coin Operated Collectors Association

Articles by or about the Bernings have appeared in issues of “Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine”, “This Old House”, "Reminisce", “Equilibrium” and “Country Living”.

Jan: BS FACS & Art University of Georgia

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