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Museum Collection

Bench Weighing Scales “Militant Mermaids”

The collection of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov was added with the material memorial of Nicholas II era, bench weighing scales “Militant Mermaids”.

The time and place of creation of this historical value: Russian Empire. The Kingdom of Poland, Warsaw, 1899. The meaningful inscriptions on the exhibit: Weber Dene /9106 15 kg; trade mark of Nicholas II; the royal crown. The weighing scales of 15 kg maximal load are decorated with a beautiful cast in the form of two militant mermaids holding shields and swords depicted in a mirror image. The rare old weighing scales were very popular during the imperial time.

The Polish weighing scales factory of Weber Dene and Company was founded in 1883. Initially, there were only 20 workers. The high quality and reliable products quickly got in demand and the Company grew rapidly. Early in the XX century Weber Dene and Company enjoyed its heyday. At that time the staff numbered 500 workers. In 1911, the annual circulation of the company was 1 mln rubles.

The company of Weber Dene manufactured different kinds of weighing scales from tiny pharmacy scales to huge port scales. It produced spring-steelyard, centesimal and decimal balances, and sets of weights for them. Besides, the company abbreviation was shown on many bench weighing scales richly decorated with mermaids and dragons in a Polish style. The company was represented in big cities of the Russian Empire, it was awarded numerous medals at the industrial exhibitions in Warsaw, Kiev, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities. The weighing scales and weights of the famous manufacturer were also exported abroad. The plain folk called them “little ducks”; the weighing scales always attracted attention of collectors owing to their traditionally rich decoration.

Such kind of weighing scales appeared in Russia at the turn of the XVIII–XIX centuries. In 1840s they were produced in large quantities at the state military plants. Later on, weighing scales production was allowed for private manufacturers, especially among the merchants. In Russia there were a great number of large enterprises for weighing scales production including Warsaw (the Kingdom of Poland being a part of Russian Empire – the companies of Weber Dene, Sperling, Neumann and others). According to the Law and Regulations about measures and weights of 1899, all the weighing scales were to be obligatorily marked and checked every 3 years.

The factory of Weber Dene Company lived through the First World War and continued working during the interwar period. In its original form it existed on until the Second World War.

This item is of a collection, antiquarian, artistic and historical value. The bench weighing scales “Militant Mermaids” is a material memorial documenting the economic development in the Voisko Donskoye Region.

Yelena Kleimenova