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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/enquiry on detecto scale manufacture year


detecto bathroom scale
detecto bathroom scale  
Hi Bill & Jan,

I felt relieved when I found this website, as I got frustrated on finding information on the year of manufacture of the bathroom scale I bought.

The scale appears vintage, and I found a number "48" impression underneath the scale. Color of the scale is white and the dial has the print of "capacity 20 stones" "not legal for trade""made in U.S.A." the logo with the silver outline and inside the word detecto in bold silver colored letters plus a wide red "v" shapre at the bottom of it. The rest of the top of the scale is covered with a pale (faded) pink furry fabric. Please see attached image.

I'd realky apprecuate it if you can help me eith this. Thank you very much.


Hi Gina,

We recommend The Book of Scales by our friend Stan Hanssen which is available on It is a history of Bathroom scales.  

Hanssen writes in his book on page 57 the following: “As the 1960s came about, there wasn't any real innovation in bath scales other than the Hanssen strip lever system. Counselor came out with a round scale. Pyle fur-fabric mats to cover the platform were introduced by Borg. Large glass lenses were introduced to improve readability. These didn't help that much to improve readability but they did however help sales. Detecto introduced “Auto Zero” so no zero adjustment was necessary. The system did hold zero but at a sacrifice than to accuracy. Counselor installed a magnet to improve zero response. It also did not improve accuracy. Handles were added to scales and Hanssen designed to scale so could be hung on the wall hook.”    
On page 64 he writes: “There were some big changes among the all-time scale makers. Detecto, and founded by three immigrant Jacob Brothers in 1900, when into bankruptcy in 1975.   Detecto had built a new plant in Brooklyn to make their scales. It was strange that they invested in machinery to make springs, but platforms and bases were subcontracted.  Detecto had gone public several years before going bankrupt.  Detecto, from the beginning, had commercial scales as well as clothes hampers. Investment bankers tried to sell the company as a complete unit were not able to sell it as a going business. Eventually, the commercial and industrial and other scale business was sold to Cardinal Scale of Webb City, Missouri in 1981.  The bath scale business went to Beatrice foods.  Beatrice foods had a subsidiary in New Jersey called Spiegel Bogene and Spiegel took on the Detecto bath scale line. Production continued in Brooklyn for a short while. When they detect a factory cease production, Spiegel contacted Hanson LTD in Ireland to supply Detecto scales.”

This information seems to point to the fact that your scale was made in the 1960s or early 70s before Detector went bankrupt and during the period when fur-covered scale platforms were in vogue.  In addition, we can assume that your scale is manufactured for either the British or Canadian market as during that. They still use stones as the standard way for person scales.
Retail value might be $10-$50.

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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