An early nineteenth century chondrometer or grain scale by Robert Brettell Bate of London.
The English chondrometer was devised following an Act of Parliament on the 1
st of January 1826 introducing the imperial form of measurement under George IV. This steelyard type scale was primarily used as a measure of the bulk density of grain and therefore quality of the product.
To use the scale, the brass measuring cylinder was placed upon the scale arm and filled to the brim with a sample of grain and levelled using a straightedge known as a strickle. The weight was identified by means of the sliding weight on the arm of the scale and was repeated a number of times to ensure accuracy of measurement. The outcome would determine price and space required to store the crop in question.
This early example is of superb quality and was manufactured by the most famous producers of these items during the period. It is housed within its original mahogany case with its original instructional label to the interior of the lid, giving bushel conversions for wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, small beans, Dutch clover, canary & rape seed. The scale is constructed from a turned brass stand, brass measuring cylinder and scale arm engraved with measurements in pounds and signed to Bate London. The weight is incorporated onto the arm and is further engraved with, “pounds per Bushel, Imperial”.
Robert Brettell Bate was a very high quality manufacturer of scientific instruments working in the early part of the Nineteenth Century. Born in 1782, he took over the business from his Uncle in 1804 who had already received a commission from the Government s revenue department to produce hydrometers. This relation continued under Bate s stewardship and appears on his trade cards of the period and in 1824 was further commissioned by the Board of Excise & Ordnance to make the new national standard measures for weight & capacity. This chondrometer is an example of Bate s output following his appointment. His quality of manufacture led him to receive Royal Appointments from George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria where he acted as Optician and he further served as the Master f the Spectacle Maker s Guild in 1833. He was also known to have acted for the Admiralty as its main chart agent with numerous sub agents acting below him such as the instrument maker, George Stebbing. Bate traded from numerous addresses in Poultry street, London from 1808 to 1846 whereafter he moved to number 33 Royal Exchange in 1846 until his death in 1847.
A superb quality example of an early chondrometer by the maker who was commissioned to create the new national standard for measures at the introduction of the imperial system.