Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"No Springs, Honest Weight" Toledo Scale

Sparrow Market. Ann Arbor, MI


"We are not obligated to sell one more scale, but we are morally bound to service the scales we have already sold."
Henry Theobold 
Founder, Toledo Scale

It's always satisfying to see one of these older Toledo-born & bred babies out in the wild still providing reliable service with their trademark accuracy. I'm 99% sure the scale pictured above is a model 2110, which has been in production for over half a century with only  minor mechanical, cosmetic and nomenclature revisions. The globe is positively littered with vintage examples still in daily use, their presence serving not only as gentle reminders of the industrial might Toledo once wielded, but also as artifacts from an era when machinery was designed with serviceability and longevity in mind. Mr. Theobolds  mission statement (above) represents a concept that seems to have  escaped the "stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap" importers peddling much of the disposable junk equipment available today. And when I was a boy, this here internet was all farmland.

Through a series of innovations including the patented and slogan-inspiring spring-free dual pendulum movement, Toledo Scale revolutionized the industry in the early 1900's and absolutely dominated the retail point-of-sale and industrial scale 
business for the rest of the 20th century.  

Although the corporate H.Q. moved 120 miles south to Columbus in the mid-1970s, a small amount of manufacturing muscle stayed put at  their Albert Khan-designed Telegraph Road Facility in Toledo until 1984. Hopes of production of any capacity resuming at the location were crushed on July 5th, 1985, when the building -which had previously survived a direct hit from the devastating Palm Sunday Tornado in 1965- was destroyed by fire. In 1989 T-Scale merged with Mettler, a highly regarded Swiss manufacturer of precision lab instruments, the pair emerging from the union as Mettler-Toledo.

But this story is not one entirely of bittersweet Toledo nostalgia. Unlike the majority of corporations that abandoned Toledo in the 70's, Mettler-Toledo still employs actual Americans, including many right here in the good old USofA! At last check, their worldwide payroll included over 11,000 employees, 3000 of which stateside, including 700 in central Ohio.
Here is John.