Volgograd Historical and Technical Museum of Weights and Measures was founded in 2009 as part of Volgograd Factory of Weighing Equipment, LLC. Today, the museum is an honorary member of the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors (Europe), as well as a member of the German society of metrologists and collectors “Maß und Gewicht”.
This unique Russian museum teaches about the traditions of Russian and world weighing scales production and the history of scales. The museum’s collection includes more than 2,400 priceless exhibits, most of them range from 100 to 300 years old, but there are also some unique items dating from the 12th-14th centuries. The museum displays numerous antique scales and steelyard balances, photographs, postcards, books, brochures, and catalogs of manufacturers of the past centuries — everything related to scales and weights. The visitors can see German postal scales, Polish mercantile “duck” scales, English pocket scales for coins, Russian steelyard balance in the shape of a mace, Austrian baby scales, incredibly precise laboratory scales from the Soviet times, Eastern figured scale weights, American egg scales and martini scales, Russian pood weights, and Chinese opium scales.
Our museum is not so young, the collection began in the early 1990s, at the same time as the factory was founded. That’s when the first antique scales appeared at the factory, some were brought by employees from long business trips to install equipment, others inherited from grandfathers and great-grandfathers or bought as wall decor or desktop souvenirs. Some curious items were handed down from the collection of the Etalon factory, which closed in the early 1990s. That paved the way to the foundation of the museum, which was a natural thing to do, given that we were an enterprise manufacturing weighing equipment. For many years, the collection was stored at the factory, had no official status, and was almost entirely closed for visitors.
On December 29, 2009, an order was signed to establish the Historical and Technical Museum of Weights and Measures at the factory. Soon, the unique and already vast collection was moved to the office of the management company. Since then it has been opened to the public. In 2012, the museum’s collection included more than 2,000 exhibits. The place was severely lacking space. Shelves with antique scales filled every corner. Some exhibits even found their way to the sales area, where the modern scales were sold, so many customers asked us whether they could buy items from our collection. Also, due to the lack of space, we could not arrange group tours. In 2015, the collection was moved to the company’s new office on Aviator Highway, where it remains to this day.
The Volgograd Museum of Weights and Measures is, in fact, a factory museum. But its collection goes far beyond the common understanding of a factory museum. Its goal is to preserve, explore and promote the world history of scales, one of the most important and ancient inventions of mankind.