How Were Things Weighed in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, people had a need to measure and weigh items for trade and commerce purposes. However, they did not have access to the advanced weighing machines that we use today.

So, how were things weighed back then? Let’s take a look.

Balance Scale: One of the earliest known methods of weighing was using a balance scale. This type of scale consists of two pans suspended from a beam or lever. The item being weighed is placed on one pan, and weights are added to the other pan until the pans balance.

Example: In ancient Egypt, balance scales were used to weigh precious metals such as gold and silver.

Spring Scale: Another early method of weighing was using a spring scale. This type of scale uses a spring that stretches when weight is applied to it. The amount of stretch indicates the weight being measured.

Example: In ancient China, spring scales were used in markets to weigh goods such as rice and tea.

Cubit Rod: A cubit rod was a measuring tool used in ancient times that was based on the length of an individual’s forearm. The cubit rod was used to measure length, height, width and also weight.

Example: In ancient Rome, cubit rods were used by merchants to measure cloth and other textiles.

Counterweights: Counterweights are weights that balance out the weight being measured. They were often made from stones or metals and could be moved along beams or levers until equilibrium was achieved.

Example: In ancient Greece, counterweights were used in marketplaces to weigh items such as grains and spices.

As we can see, people in ancient times had various ways of measuring and weighing items without access to modern technology. Whether it was using balance scales or cubit rods or counterweights, they found ways to ensure fair trade and commerce. Today, we continue to use some of these ancient methods, although we have also developed many advanced weighing machines that are more accurate and efficient.