Historical information

This scale was owned by Dr Angus, whose training and experience included chemistry and pharmacy.

This is a sliding balance scale. The object to be weighed, such as a letter or a dose of medicine, is placed on the square metal plate and the weight, the slider, is moved along the notched metal arm and adjusted until the arm is horizontal, then reading is recorded of the figure the pointer on the slider is positioned. This design of small is often referred to as a letter scale.

This item was donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village by the family of Doctor William Roy Angus, Surgeon and Oculist. It is part of the “W.R. Angus Collection” that includes historical medical equipment, surgical instruments and material once belonging to Dr Edward Ryan and Dr Thomas Francis Ryan, (both of Nhill, Victoria) as well as Dr Angus’ own belongings. The Collection’s history spans the medical practices of the two Doctors Ryan, from 1885-1926 plus that of Dr Angus, up until 1969.


The scale is significant as an example of 20th century measuring and weighing equipment.

It is also important for its association with the W.R. Angus Collection, which is significant for still being located at the site it is connected with, Doctor Angus being the last Port Medical Officer in Warrnambool.

The collection of medical instruments and other equipment is culturally significant, being a historical example of medicine, administration, household equipment and clothing from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. Dr Angus assisted Dr Tom Ryan, a pioneer in the use of X-rays and in ocular surgery.

Physical description

Scale; a small sliding balance letter scale. The scale has a flat metal platform and a toothed metal balance arm with cylindrical brass weight. These are attached to a decorative metal stand that is mounted onto a shaped lacquered black wooden base. The sliding weight causes the arm to pivot on the stand. The arm is marked into equal-length segments from 0 to 8. Each segment is marked into halves. There is no maker’s mark. The scale is part of the W.R. Angus Collection.