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Scales and Weights: A Historical Outline

Mary E. Lindberg
JAMA. 1966;195(7):599. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100070143064.
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Tools of measurement provide an interesting perspective from which to view the history, not only of scales and weights themselves, but of culture, men, and the governments who controlled—or did not control—the exchange of goods. Bruno Kisch, MD, who presents here a lively and thorough history of weighing, is a physiologist, cardiologist, medical historian, and curator of the Streeter Collection of Weights at the Yale University School of Medicine. His scholarly appraisal draws on literature, art, and architectural ornamentation, as well as collections around the world, to inform a history of weights and measure, encompassing examples from the pre-Christian era to the present.

Adjuncts to the text include 98 plates depicting scales, weights, and their containers. In addition, numerous charts and tables provide a reference particularly interesting to the scholar and collector. Dr. Kisch includes the known hallmarks of scale- and weight-makers of western Europe and also lists the weights


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