Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.12494

    Apothecaries’ scales

    Creator - Organisation
    H Martin, Instrument maker
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (object): 340mm
    width (object): 253mm
    depth (object): 140mm
    Content object
    Travelling apothecaries’ scale for weighing chemicals and pharmaceuticals, thought to have belonged to Luke Howard FRS. Brass pillar and balance with a single chained pan and a corresponding fork for a detachable pan or glass. Lever operated with a central pointer. The apparatus is mounted on a mahogany box with a single drawer containing two compartments lined with red velvet, one for the packed-down balance and the other for weights. The base of the box has a green baize covering.

    The brass pan is inscribed: ‘H.MARTIN, MAKER READING.’

    Inside are sets of weights: twenty-two clipped brass foils ranging from ½ grain to 6 grains stamped, either with the Parliamentary portcullis or with a crown and ‘V.R.’ [Victoria Regina] design; three base metal coin or token weights of ½ , 1 and 23 scruples; three base metal tokens of ½ dram, 1 and 2 drams. These circular weights are marked ‘P. Rogers & Co., Standard.’

    Luke Howard (1772-1864) manufacturing chemist and meteorologist, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1821.
    Object history
    Presented by Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, 1975.

    The object was presented by Rachel Younger to Alan Hodgkin and in an accompanying letter she stated that: ‘I am much pleased that you will accept this gift & give it such an honoured place. The scales came to me along with a lot of other things from my Grandmother Elizabeth Waterhouse who was sister to my great Uncle Tom Hodgkin. There was no indication of their history but I always understood she had had them at Tottenham & that they had belonged to her Grandfather Luke Howard…’ Letter, Rachel, Lady Younger, Arnsbrae, Cambus, Alloa, Scotland, 20 August n.y. [1975?], to Alan Lloyd Hodgkin.

    Hodgkin then presented the scales to the Royal Society with a note: ‘Chemical Balance belonging to my great-great-grandfather Luke Howard FRS, 1772-1864. The balance was given to me by my second cousin Lady Younger (Rachel Younger)…I now give it to the Royal Society at the end of my period as P.R.S. Alan Hodgkin 30.XI.1975’.

    Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin (1914-1998) physiologist, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1948 and served as President of the Royal Society 1970-1975.
    Associated place
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