Lion Quick Action Scale
The Lion Quick Action Scale was at the heart of the Company's scale range from about 1910 until 1945.
Although essentially a simple equal arm balance counter scale, it was a very well designed product, accurate, compact and with clean lines. It was the subject of an advertising book titled ‘Light on the Lion', published around 1930, a 67 page hard cover book with 57 photographs. It was also featured in another advertising book, the Lion Scale Sales Aid from c1930.
The Quick Action scale came in 4lb, 7lb, 10lb, 20lb, 30lb and 40lb capacities, the two most popular being the 10lb and 20lb models.
Finishes were available in gold bronze paint with nickel and aluminium goods fittings, or in white porcelain enamel with chromed metal parts. A variety of goods plates were supplied dependant on use, from china and glass plates to tin, white metal and brass scoops, with a convenient detachable weight tray fitted next to the weight plate.
Many ‘Own Brand' models were produced for retailers, in particular Sainsburys, Harrods, Selfridges, Laws, and Eastern Counties Dairy Farmers. Special versions were designed for baby weighing, amunition weighing, and also dog weighing, the latter seen in this Cruft's Dog Show 1935 Catalogue.
The Quick Action scale was a well-engineered, easy to make, and easy to use weighing machine, but was a traditional balance scale which needed a set of weights to weigh the goods. It came on to the market shortly after automatic scales, where a pointer or similar device shows the exact weight on a chart or dial, had begun to appear in the USA. The next invention was a computing scale, where the chart is marked up with ‘price per lb/kg', so that it is possible to compute the price to charge the customer for the goods on the pan. The first computing scale had been patented by Julius Pitrat of Ohio in 1885. Six years later his patent was bought by two businessmen, who in 1901 incorporated The Computing Scale Company as the world's first computing scale vendor. After that date automatic and computing scales started to win market share in the US, then in the UK where they were introduced in about 1910.
In 1922 Herbert & Sons Ltd agreed a joint venture with Vandome, Titford & Hart Ltd to form a new company, Rapidway Ltd, to import automatic scales from the US. However Rapidway failed to reach satisfactory terms with the manufacturer, and in the depressed post-war market the firm continued with the manufacture of the Lion Quick Action scales.
Even as late as 1930 a page from ‘Light on the Lion' states "Inspectors (of Weights and Measures) know that ‘Lion' Quick Action Scales are 3 times more sensitive than is necessitated by the Board of Trade Regulations . A ‘Lion' Quick Action Scale after years of hard use is more sensitive than a new counter or automatic scale.” There was also a page in the book ‘knocking' "Auto's” and giving a list of "Some Traders who have replaced Auto's by Lion Quick Action Scales”.
Herbert & Sons Ltd did however develop a range of automatic scales which were launched shortly before WW11, but then another period concentrating on war work started in 1939, and few new retail scales were manufactured in those six years.
One of our Quick Action Scales is shown in a 1944 film on 'Rationing in Britain' (Fan Scale at 1 min 39 secs and Quick Action Scale at 4 min 24 secs)
Examples of these scales can also be seen in the Bakery (No. 36) in Blists Hill Victorian Town at Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire and The Scales Museum near Gloucester.
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