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Sweet Shop Bakelite Scales


An extremely rare set of 1930s Asco sweet shop scales in a rich, dark bitter-chocolate brown Bakelite, with a wonderful high-polish finish - and in stunning condition. It has twin dials, back and front, graded in imperial measures of lbs and ozs; and each side has a fitted circular bevelled mirror. There is a small twin-crack in the glass of one of the dials, yet we can forgive it that. "One quart acid drops and two ounces sherbet lemons please!"

The dial reads "To weigh 2lb by 1/4 ounces, Automatic Scale Co Ltd, British Asco, London - Manchester". The brass plate attached to its top side reads: style no 1704; serial number 10924; to weigh 2lb; patent no 299826; reg design no 751853.

Bakelite was the new modern material of the 1930s and was usually applied to contemporary designs. Here it has been press-moulded to make a traditional set of shop scales. These scales demonstrate the experimentation that was taking place in the brave new world of the early twentieth century, as it embraced its new-found love: plastic. This item has been recently purchased from an important private Bakelite collection.

History of Bakelite

In 1909, Belgian chemist Leo Baekland created the first entirely synthetic plastic, calling it Bakelite. Its properties were revolutionary for it was resistant to heat and didn’t conduct electricity, making it really good insulator, and therefore particularly useful to the automotive and electrical industries emerging at the time. Lightweight and durable; sleek and stylish; affordable and convenient; it could also be moulded into every shape imaginable; and the 1920s and 30s saw Bakelite embrace modernism, where it was used in jewelry, lamps, desk sets, clocks, radios, telephones, kitchenware, and all manner of everyday practical objects - such as this set of scales.

Country of origin: UK

Date: c.1930

Material: Bakelite, chromium plated metal, steel and glass

Dimensions: Height 45.5cm Width 36cm Depth 19cm (Depth of bowl 30.5cm)

Condition: the Bakelite is immaculate, and the scales are in remarkably good condition, yet one of the dials has a small twin crack to its glass - see final image.


Price does not  include delivery.
Delivery/collection must be purchased/organised separate to product purchase.
Please contact us to request a delivery estimate, if required.