letter scale by Haag Design, D
page title: SPECIALS
columbus bilateral by Ph.J. Maul, D

In the world of letter scales one sees peculiar specimens also. Some scales are good-looking, but they own an inaccuracy to be treated with respect. Other scales are good-looking and sufficiently accurate, but are totally unfit to weigh a letter quickly and handy. A very few scales are good-looking, plus accurate, plus handy in daily use.

Manne Kuva - Balanssi
rolling letter scale
design Manne Kuva

A beautiful design of a letter scale rolling towards an equilibrium, is "Balanssi" designed by Manne Kuva from Finland. In 1998 he took part in a design contest called PUUN AIKA, Era of Wood. The designs of wooden objects was intended to be gifts for VIP's who would come to visit Helsinki, as the European Cultural Capital of the year 2000. Manne Kuva used laminated wood, a steel ball and a little steel pin. Unfortunately, only one specimen exist. (Letter scale in Finnish is kirjevaaka).

Fly Aweigh - weighing a letter
weighing a letter
Fly Aweigh - John McMillan
Fly Aweigh letter scale
design John McMillan
pelican weighing a letter
animation of mobile movement
click to start

The American John McMillan designed a pleasing combination of a bird mobile and a letter scale. The bird is a goodlooking object. You don't have to look for your letter scale, it's always good visible and ready for use. The design is protected by an American patent since April 20 1999. Three different birds are available: the pelican presented here, the bald eagle and the great blue heron. Still for sale at 44.50 US Dollars plus S&H.

shark combinationShark, a combination of a staple remover, letter opener and letter scale. Made of stainless steel. It's a hand held letter scale. The chain can be switched to different weighing-positions. The letter is pinched in the shark's jaws. switch to Simplicitas - Zweden   Epistola
Epistola, a combination of letter opener/letter scale. Material: stainless steel. A hand held letter scale with pencil suspension. Design Teo Enlund, Simplicitas AB, Zweden

The old Archimedean principle was put on the stage again with the undermentioned letter scales. The scales are pleasing the eye, but are unpractical in use, a characteristic of many modern design. To preserve the range of weighing, a regular refill of water is necessary. The accuracy of weighing leaves much to be desired because the floating cylinder is dragged along the interior wall of the outer cylinder. To reduce friction and improve gliding of the cylinder, it is recommended to add a small quantity of household cleaning-agent to the water. To prevent calcification one should use distilled water. Or, if not available, put a few drops of vinegar into normal water, this will do the job as well. Dr Haag claims an accuracy of ± 2 grams. In 1786 Samuel Miller got a British patent, with number 1545, for a much larger design of this scale. In fact it had to serve to weigh cattle at the cattle-market of London. J. Deschamps got a British patent, with number 3171, for a hydraulic balance in 1879. According to one source, Equilibrium pp.509-510, even older (British?) patents on hydraulic balances exist. In Germany Dr Haag made his apply for a patent in 1982. This was published in 1983 under the German patent number 3206959 A1. Ultimately, the patent was granted in July 1986. This scale is manufactured and marketed by M&M -made in W.Germany- with article-number 687-5 as universal balance. In the Netherlands (in 1990/1991/1993?) Arnout Visser presented his Archimedes letter scale. The dimensions and materials are slightly different. Dr Haag uses fragile hard plastic. Visser applies the more durable and much more expensive Pyrex glass.

letter scale by Arnout Visser
Archimedes letter scale
design Arnout Visser, NL
German Archimedes scale
 Archimedes letter scale
 by Dr. Haag Design, D
PTT-Post rocker letter scale
Dutch PTT-Post rocker letter scale: this letter 
put in the 50 grams (middle) slot doesn't overturn
the scale, this happens for sure when this letter
is put in the 20 grams (left) slot: so, this letter
weighs between 20 and 50 grams.

The Dutch mail services presented the rocker letter scale. This very handy letter scale was temporary a free gift in 2000. The scale made of strong cardboard, was presented in a folding form.

switch to Tamussimo page
       letter scale by designer
        Christoph Tamussino 1993
rolling letter scale with solid ball indicatorRolling letter scale designed by Johannes Geyer Germany 1988. Sticking a letter in the groove at the end upperleft, makes the scale roll to a new equilibrium. A ball, acting as indicator, in the midgroove rolls to a new equilibrium rest position. Aside the groove three values are engraved: 0, 20 en 50 grams. Patented in 1988. The design was awarded in 1992, scale got named: HOOPEE.

Haolong Ma - letter balance
rolling letter balance
design: Haolong Ma

Also a beautiful letter scale that rolls towards an equilibrium was designed by Haolong Ma from China, now living in the U.S.A. The design was made as a class project at the Central Academy of Arts and Design in China in March 1998. Helas, only a prototype was made. The scale presents the postal limits of 20, 40 and 60 grams. At the frontal side of the scale is written in red with very small sized characters the name: dream design.

Haolong Ma - letter balance
rolling letter balance
design: Haolong Ma

Beside the combination of letter opener and letter scale, scales exist in the shape of a fountain-pen and also in the actual combination of ball-pen and letter scale.

pen shaped letter scale
ready to use
fountain-pen shaped
letter scale, USA
pen & scale combination      index of scale
ball-pen & letter scale combi, USA

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