Fine circa 1700 Jewelers scale by Martinus de Backer, Amsterdam

Fine circa 1700 Jewelers scale by Martinus de Backer, Amsterdam


Categories: Pharmacy & Chemists, Scales Weights & Measures


Fine jewelers scale by Martinus de Backer dating to circa 1700. Rectangular wooden box with dark finish, beveled edges and two cast brass hooks decorated with floral motifs. A coat of arms is carved on the outer lid with the initials DS. On the interior a printed and hand colored master’s label which reads “Dese Gewichten maeckt Martinus de Backer inde Oude Brugh Steegh inde goude Munt Balans tot Amsterdam.” The label depicts death with an hourglass and justice with blindfold and scales. In the center, the coat of arms and lions of Amsterdam. The bottom of the box is lined with red silk. 6 brass weights are contained in fitting compartments.

The steel scales are very finely made with round silvered bowls on green silk string and a small green silk tassel. The balance is file worked with exquisite decorative details. A small pearl adorns the top.

Martinus de Backer was born January 5th 1661 and died April 11th 1750. He came from a line of Amsterdam balance makers which included his father Adolph Backer. Martinus worked under the sign of the Golden Balance in Oudebrughsteegh. He went into business with his son Adolph de Backer II (b. 1691) around 1715. For more info:

This balance most likely dates to the end of the 17th century, based on the decoration and early style of brass hook used. A fine chronology of balance hooks is here:

A similar scale by de Backer was recently sold at auction:

Excellent condition. Dimensions: 105 x 52 x 22 mm.

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DE Instrumentum

Instrumentum specializes in high quality 17th and 18th century scientific instruments for architecture, mathematics and navigation. We have collected antique instruments for over 20 years with a focus on early and rare European architectural drafting sets, dividers, and rules. If you are interested in something particular please contact us at Image galleries of our inventory can be viewed on Pinterest and Facebook at the following links:

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