I Speak Your Weight

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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 Grumpy Jack

Writer and photographer
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