I Speak Your Weight


In an apparent effort to increase revenue plus annoy walkers and ramblers, the Forestry Commission have installed parking meters in the car parks around the Bennachie range. It’s only a pound I suppose but what a pain.

It might have been more fun if they had installed “I Speak Your Weight” terminals instead.

In their original form these machines were quite crude. A plummy voice recorded in separate concentric bands around a shellac phonograph record announced your weight. Whereas on a conventional scale your weight drove the pointer over a dial, on these machines it determined the landing position of the needle over the disc.

“One at a time please!” was the petulant response if you exceeded the maximum weight.

They were made from the early 1930’s when all sorts of new applications were being found for the “talking machine”. Both Charles Ahrens and the British Automatic Co. Ltd. made them, as did various manufacturers in America.

Very few of these mechanical marvels have survived although electronic speaking domestic scales are available today with messages such as “no pain no gain” and “you have lost 6 grams since you last stood here”

Seemingly N F Simpson’s play “One Way Pendulum” featured a chorus of the machines.


About Duncan Harley

Author, photographer and feature writer.
This entry was posted in Politics and Comment and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s