Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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1. Definition and metaphor

The primary purpose of scales is to determine weights. The original principal was to compare an existing, defined weight with a second weight to be determined, using a double-sided lever responding to the force of gravity. The principle of balancing opposed torsional moments also accounts for the difficulties involved in the ideal construction of scales and in their use. 

In his Idiota de staticis experimentis (1450; “The Layman on Experiments Done with …

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Pichol, Karl, “Scales”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_031190>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210601

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