2023 Author: Priscilla Miln | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 06:25
The word "scales" has several meanings and evokes various associations in a person. Astronomy lovers probably thought about the constellation, astrologers - about the sign of the Zodiac, and most about the upcoming trip to the store or to the market for groceries. We constantly encounter weight measurement in our everyday life and do not even think about the ancient history of this device and how far a person has advanced in its improvement.
What is a balance scale
When it comes to weighing the masses of any goods or chemical ingredients, most often they imagine a small yoke with two shawls (bowls) and an arrow, on one of which a body is placed, the weight of which needs to be determined, and on the second - standard weights, and achieve their balance. Equal-arm scales are used to measure small masses, and a device with a lever offset from the middle (single-arm and unequal-arm balances) is used for large loads.
When do you think people invented the device to measure mass? Archaeologists who have been excavating in Mesopotamia believe that the first lever scales appeared as early as five thousand years BC. And the very first written mention of this device was found in the "Book of the Dead" of the ancient Egyptians, which was written around 1250 BC. The document tells about the equal-armed yoke, which the god Anubis used to weigh the heart of the deceased. On the first scale was a figurine depicting the ancient Egyptian goddess of justice Maat, and on the second lay the heart of the deceased. The fate of the soul depended on the outcome of such a weighing: when “justice” was weighed, it went to heaven, and when the heart was weighed, the torments of hell awaited it.
Equal-arm balances were also widely used in ancient Babylon. In Eastern Turkey, a stone stele (first millennium BC) still survives, depicting a Hittite using his finger instead of a yoke. After that, historical facts indicate that to determine the mass, people began to use a new principle, consisting in the use of a mobile weight with a constant weight gain fulcrum. Lever scales of a new type appear in Ancient Rome and have a pair of hook-shaped handles and two scales. One of the first instruments of this type was found in Pompeii. In the 12th century AD, Arab scientists already knew weighing equipment that allowed an error of 0.1%, which made it possible to use it to reject counterfeit money,jewelry, and also used to determine the density of bodies.
Definition of mass in our time
Despite the fact that electronics are increasingly replacing mechanics in the modern world, the lever mechanism is still popular and widely used to determine mass. At the same time, medical, laboratory, trade, technical scales that work without the use of electronics have long since given way to modern devices and are gradually turning into antiques. Technologies are developing in our time so rapidly that perhaps our grandchildren will be able to see the good old weights only in museums. However, for us, the symbol of the scales will always look like two small cups suspended on a small thin yoke.
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