Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum

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Student Analytical Balance

Voland & Sons (inc)

Model 200; Serial M 17304

Humboldt State College; c. 1957

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The analytical balance is the most fundamental tool in the chemists arsenal. It is used to determine the masses of, or in other words the amount of stuff in, objects or samples. The balance is a comparison instrument. It compares standard or known weights placed on the left-hand pan to unknown samples or objects placed on the right-hand pan. The current instrument also has a rider (a 10 mg bent wire weight which is moved along the graduated scale on the top of the beam) to measure small (1-10 mg) differences in mass. The glass case is to protect the balance from drafts while samples are being weighed, as well to keep the delicate mechanisms free from dirt. The scanned catalog description is from the 1958 Fisher Scientific Company catalog, Modern Laboratory Appliances, Catalog 59.

This balance was probably used in analytical chemistry in the basement of Founder's Hall1. It was later used in the student research lab (Science A 460) until the building remodel in 1988 when it was placed in storage. It appears to be the only Voland balance kept in Chemistry when the department replaced the department's two-pan balances for instructional laboratories with the purchase of Mettler H10 balances in 1971.

According to MacNevin, Voland and Sons was established in 1888 in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Early descriptions of the balance and its use are provided below:


The balance is in excellent, working condition. Finish, dimensions etc. are well described in the catalog scan. Voland riders in small plastic boxes with two different styles of labels are in the collection. Both were held in the Chemistry department. The linked image of the first rider box shows the weight hand written, while the linked image of the second rider box shows the weight value typed. There is a yellow property decal: STATE OF CALIFORNIA / HUMBOLDT COLLEGE / 15137.

Directions for setting up this balance accompany this specimen and can be seen in the linked scans (three sets of instructions, for serials M17304, M17305 and M17699, were stored together in the file drawer in the analytical chemistry prep room).


MacNevin, William Marshall, The Analytical Balance, Its Care and Use, Handbook Publishers, Inc., Sandusky, Ohio, (1951), pg. xi.
Shannon, John M. and Geraldine C. Shannon. The Assay Balance: Its Evolution and the Histories of the Companies That Made Them. (privately printed,1999).

1 This use is inferred from the storage of three sets of Voland 200 directions in the analytical chemistry service room in Science A (2007).

The Chemical Balance at Humboldt

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HSTC (1921-34)
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HSC (1954-1973)
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HSC (1935-1953)

HSC 1956-72 Instrument Collection

© R. Paselk
Last modified August 2010
All photographs © R. Paselk