This amazing and extremely rare Bavarian Biedermeier-period pharmacy balance stand would have been at home at any apothecary’s shop during the mid-19th century. Crafted of walnut with bold giltwood accents, this stand holds eight separate sets of balances with brass beams and pointers, and weighing pans made of horn, brass and porcelain. The balances measure out varying sizes; the largest is capable of measuring up to 500 grams, while smallest weighs up to 5 grams. Such balances would have been essential tools in the practice of compounding, or creating customized medications to suit a specific patient's needs. The delicate porcelain scales even indicate what they were used to weigh: one set is marked “Jodoform,” or iodoform, a disinfectant and antiseptic once used to treat wounds, and the other is marked “Venena,” which is Latin for “poisons.” Each scale also exhibits stamps indicating that they have been tested for accuracy. It is extremely rare to find such a large array of scales, especially those in such wonderful condition, in one collection. This intriguing piece is a must for any medical antiques enthusiast.
The units of measurement in which apothecaries worked were often minute: grains, scruples, drams and ounces. As they were typically used to measure very small amounts of ingredients, apothecary and analytical balances such as these needed to be accurate and very sensitive. The first such balances appeared in the 18th century, coincidentally as great strides were being made in the scientific and medical arts during the Enlightenment.
20 1/2” diameter x 30 3/4” highClick here to view a video of this item.