Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum

© Richard Paselk 2007



Richard A. Paselk

The Mettler balance company was founded when Erhard Mettler (1917-) determined around 1945 that there was an opening for a new kind of balance. All of the indeividual characters of this new balance had already been invented and used in past instruments, what Mettler did was combine them in a new and more effective manner. The success of his new balance and company were also aided by the destruction of much of the balance industry of Europe during WW II, and their slow recovery afterwards.

Mettler's new mechanical substitution balance, developed with the aid of Hans Meier (1914-) an experienced Swiss instrument engineer, incorporated all of the essential features upon its introduction in 1947:

All of these features, in their final conformation may be seen in the scan of the Mettler poster, The Modern Analytical Balance.

In 1955 Mettler introduced the first top Loading scale with optical readout. This balance also incorporated the first dial controlled taring. The top loading precision balance line quickly gained wide acceptance, soon occupying nearly half of Mettler's production.

To be continued as time allows!


Jenemann, Hans R. Die Waage des Chemikers / The Chemists Balance. DECHEMA, Frankfurt am Main (1997). This is THE history of the analytical balance in English (2007).

Kupper, Walter E. "Balance" in McGraw-Hill Eincyclopedia of Science and Technology, 8th ed. v2, McGraw-Hill, New York (1997) p 486.

Company History, Mettler-Toledo International Inc. http// (2007). Lots of info on Mettler's later history up to the present day.


A number of patents are provided in pdf format for the convenience of the user. There is considerable overlap of the British and American patents, with the British patents occuring earlier.
  1. British Patent 667948: Beam arrestment and related. Compares two-pan and single-pan systems. (1950)
  2. British Patent 724360: Top-loading balance (1953)
  3. British Patent 754203: Manipulation of ring-weights in an analytical balance (1954)
  4. British Patent 764777: Offset beam with counter weight and air damping (1954)
  5. American patent 2750183: Air damping of an asymmetric beam (1956)
  6. American patent 2902272: Balance rack and friction pin for pan (1959)
  7. American patent 3004618: Ring weights and lifting mechanism (1961)
  8. American patent 3039549: Assymetric beam arrestment (1962)

Vendor Catalog Scans

As a supplement information above, a collection of scanned images and descriptions of balances is available via the table below.

The images and catalog descriptions are scanned from vendor catalogs in the curator's collection. In each case an effort has been made to scan all of the balances of a given manufacturer in the catalog. It should be noted. however, that the distributors generally show only a selection of balances from any one manufacturer. Catalogs are selected from the curator's collection at approximately ten year intervals, when available, with a second criteria being representation of the specific manufacturer. In the case of Mettler, the first two catalogs, though only three years apart, document a significant change in the distribution of Mettler balances in the United States, so both are included.

Time Period Catalogs 

Fisher Scientific Co. (1958)

Braun-Knecht-Heiman-Co. (1961)

Fisher Scientific Company (1980)

The Chemical Balance at Humboldt

Index of Instruments

Museum Home

Instrument Literature


HSTC (1921-34)
HSC (1935-1953)
HSC (1954-1973)
© R. Paselk
Last modified 28 May 2008, 19 September 2013