Mar - May 2012 Mystery Object

Can you guess what the Mystery Object was?

Look at the video and images and tell us what you think it is. These questions might help you guess:

  • What material is this object made from?
  • Where have you seen something like this object in the past?
  • Who might have used this object?
  • For what purpose might they have used it for?
  • How could you use the object?

Scroll down for the answer.

 

    

 

 

 

Guesses

Weights for use on a set of scales, 1 ounce to 1 pound (George, age 60)
Weights for postal scales (Amanda, age 30)
Weights used on a weighing scale (Lindsey, age 58)
They are old cast iron scale weights in ounces, used to measure the weight of various items (Paul, age 62)
Weights used on a balance scale for weighing in a kitchen or shop. Also weighing small goods to be sent by train (Robyn, age 60)
Kitchen scale weights (Abigail, age 2)
Weights as in defined measured weights for use on scales, ie ounces (Jeff, age 55)
Weights for a set of scales. Possibly for weighing parcel freight (Frank, age 57)
Weights for either freight or platform scales (Graham, age 61)
Weights from weighing scales. Used for weighing people and luggage (Lauren, age 9)
A set of weights (Judy, age 68)
Weights used for gold scales (Brenton, age 57)
Weights for scales (Roley, age 70)
A set of weights (Simon, age 10)
Weights for a set of balance scales (Ronald, age 67)
Set of balance scale weights used by shop keepers for measuring produce (Ray, age 74)

Answer

A set of weights.

Made from cast iron this set of weights had 5 individual units. The weights were measured in imperial units – ounces (oz) and pounds (lb) – rather than the metric units of grams and kilograms that we use today. The weights in this set were designed to stack neatly one on top of the other and weighed (smallest to largest):

1 = 1 oz (28.35 grams)
2 = 2 oz (56.7 grams)
3 = 4 oz (113.4 grams)
4 = 8 oz (226.8 grams)
5 = 1 lb (453.56 grams)

Weight sets like this were used throughout the railways. Queensland Railways provided a parcel service to the public across the state. Parcels presented at stations were weighed by station staff in order to calculate the cost of sending the parcel to its destination. Small parcels placed on one side of the scales were then balanced by using these weights.

Once the scales were balanced the weights were added up and the amount owing to the destination was calculated. The railways no longer provide a parcel service. Digital scales are used by the Post Office when posting a parcel today.