Vintage American Family Scale - 25lbs circa 1970s-1980s
The story of the American Family Kitchen Scale is based partly on nostalgia, partly on grit, and partly on relationships.
It was a delightful concept to begin with, the idea of making a universal household scale. At the beginning of the company's start in the late 1920s, the Moses Hirsch family was excited about their new enterprise. But the kitchen scale business wasn't quite as cut and dry as Moses had expected it to be - mainly because home cooks didn't really need to calculate ingredients for recipes utilizing pounds anymore, Thanks to Fannie Farmer and her establishment of the cups, ounces, and spoons measuring system in the early 1900s, most recipes by the 1930s called for more precise calculations.
The American Family Scales were cute in design though, reminiscent of general store style scales from the 1800s, with folksy charm that fulfilled a sort of primitive need to weigh things in bulk. A pound of potatoes here, two pounds of coffee beans there, five pounds of brown sugar, a three-pound chicken, six pounds of apples - you get the idea. And they were helpful for home garden growers too, who were weighing their vegetables for both personal cooking and trade.
Sales bumped along in high and low fashion. Until luckily a business contract with Sears catalogs and another one with the US military helped generate more steady sales. American Family Scale pressed on.
Despite the two big contracts and the wider exposure, Moses, and his future generations of family members that would eventually run the company, still had to continuously stay on their toes though in order to keep their scales relevant in American homes. As times changed, taste changed. The American kitchen was modernizing at fast speed with better technology, digital options, and sleek designs.
With an eye on nostalgia and an attempt to capture a new market of consumers, American Family Scale continued to redesign its kitchen scale with appealing yesteryear charm all the way through the 1980s. To keep manufacturing prices down and retail prices affordable for all Americans, AFS eventually incorporated lighter-weight plastics in the once all-metal and glass scale design. They made the scale available in an array of colors and added graphics to attract the eye. They expanded into other areas of poundage too including baby weight basket scales, farmers market and greengrocer scales, and the now famous bathroom scale - all of which became more popular than their noble kitchen scale.
This scale was made in the 1970s-1980s era when the company was endeavoring to appeal to a younger audience. It came in several color combinations including green, yellow, grey, and this version - all white. Some sported plain faces, similar to their earlier 1920s versions, some had a two-toned wedge-style face while others came with retro-looking food illustrations, like this one. As cute as these scales were, and as enchanted as consumers become with them again, this idea of a universal kitchen scale faded from households in the second to last decade of the 20th century. By 1986, the company had run its course and American Family Scale was sold ending a 60-year run of weights and measures in the kitchen.
Nowadays, this scale is still very much a fun companion in the kitchen, and still very much useful for weighing all sorts of things, from fruit to vegetables to meat and dairy products. Made with a plastic tray platform up top for weighing and a metal base below, it incorporates a bit of the old 1920s design with a bit of the new (1970s/1980s) love of plastic.
If you like to cook with a lot of European recipes which often call for ingredients in pounds and kilograms, this vintage scale is a helper by instantly providing accurate weights in both units of measure instead of having to consult your phone or computer for conversion information. Also, it's great for use at farmers' markets, food stalls, bakeries, or specialty shops where products are often sold in bulk or by the pound.
- In wonderful vintage shape
- Bright white with clear graphics
- Working condition
- Easy to use recalibration knob always ensures accurate weight
- Measures weight up to 25 lbs.
In wonderful vintage condition, this scale is bright and very clean. There is some chipping of the enamel paint on the edge of the metal platform at the base and some light rusting on the bottom of the scale, as expected with age. The plastic face dial is very clear with no cracks or foggy areas and the plastic weighing platform is strong and sturdy.
Measures 8" inches (height) x 6.5" inches (width) x 8.5" inches (depth) and weighs 2.10 lbs