Stock Number: 10351


For sale, antique grain scale designed for determining the specific gravity of a given volume of grain which indicates the purity and quality of the sample. It all fits together in the original fitted case and was made by a member of the prominent Chemin dynasty of scale and weight makers of France.


7-3/8 inches (19 cm) long cylinder


c. first third 19th century

Country of manufacture


Category: Scales Weights & Measures


COMPACT GRAIN SCALE OUTFIT, French, c. first third 19th century, signed “Chemin à Paris” and “Chemin, Breveté, Rue de la Feronnerie, No. 4, à Paris.” A 7-3/8″ (19 cm) long lacquered brass cylinder compactly contains a cylindrical wooden fitted case filled compactly with an entire outfit for measuring and weighing a standard volume. There is an asymmetric brass beam balance, the suspendable brass measuring cylinder (marked “Demi-Litre”), a suspendable set of seven nested brass eights (2 to 100 grams), three small sheet brass weights (5 and 2 decigrams, 5 centigrams) in boxwood case, green silk funnel in collapsible frame with finger suspension and pewter pull-stopper, wooden plate for topping off, and empty wooden tube (for thermometer?). Condition is fine except for some minor losses and wear.

This is a rarely seen, cleverly designed portable outfit for pouring out a given volume of grain and weighing it to determine the specific gravity of a sample. It was patented and constructed by a member of the Chemin dynasty of scale and weight makers. Marcelin lists four, ours being Chemin III (c. 1776 – 1838), made free in 1792, and described as “Membre de l¹Athénée des Arts, inventeur de la balance portative pour connaître la pesenteur du blé.”

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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at, and can be contacted at [email protected].

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