FAQ on Parcel Scales: History and Development
Weighing mail has forever been the custom and the heavier your parcel is the more it weighs on your wallet. The same can be said for the weighing scale used to weight it. The problem comes not when it’s bulky and heavy, it comes when what you have to weigh something that almost weighs nothing. What then? Not a problem. Introducing the highly specialized parcelscale, sensitive enough to weigh a single sheet of paper but tough enough to stand to a couple of pounds. It used to be that postal offices had this really elaborate balancescale that looked like you needed a degree in physics just to work it but with the modern digital parcel scale, all you need happens at the touch of a finger.
Let's check out this cool device and see how it works. Pardon the pun but we need to ask some weighty questions just to see how weighty this device really is.
Where did this device originate from?
Like all weighing devices, it traces its origins from way back around 4000 B.C. in old Mesopotamia. At this time, people discovered that two proportional values of mass on opposite ends of a beam would balance each other out when supported at the exact middle of the beam. Further developments were made on the scale and this is evidenced by animal shaped balances made out of bronze that were excavated in Egypt. One surprising fact is that Greek and Roman improvements on the scale did nothing to better the Egyptian model and in fact, the alterations that these two civilizations affected on the scale were more ruinous to it.
It was later, much later, 3000 long years later that enhancements on the scale actually improved its accuracy and precision. It was one Leonardo Da Vinci who's modifications on the scale greatly affected its function and reputation, for by this point in time, the Greek and Roman modifications on the measuring instruments had given it a bad name and it took a lot of regulation and standardization for the scale to once more be held as a trustworthy implement. Digitalization of this device came after the 1940s and at present, digital scales are indispensable to daily life. From birth, each human being is affected by this weighing and that weighing. The food we eat, transportation we ride and medicine we take has gone through rigorous processes of weighing and its probably true that more than once our very lives hung in the balance and saved because of the humble weighing scale. These modern digital scales are stupendously clever and precise that they are really a necessity more than anything.
How does a parcel scale work?
Parcel scales are different breed of device than your traditional spring scale or balance scale. These modern scales utilize the properties of a device called a transducer to be able to measure how heavy or light an object really is. A transducer is basically a modified resistor that responds to compressive pressure. The conductivity of this specialized resistor changes whenever there is a change in the compressive factor and so a signal that's run across it, changes and this signal is then sent to a micro processor that does calculations and then displays the actual weight of the object on a liquid crystal display.
Can one parcel scale weigh any the parcels that I'm sending?
The answer depends on the actual weight of your parcel but I'm sure that the post office can handle most commercial parcels. They probably have a parcel scale that has the capacity to weightobjects weighing as little as an envelope to that of a small refrigerator. However, not all mail is limited to this weight. You get parcels or freight that could possibly weigh as much as upwards of 2,000 pounds and this much weight on a normal parcel scale would just pancake it. For this heavy weight job, you would probably need a parcel scale with a maximum capacity of 5,000 pounds and these are not unheard of. The breed of parcel scales that's available for use right now is almost limitless in their capacity and different functions.
You mentioned different functions. Could you please elaborate on this point?
Parcel scales come with many different automated functions. There is even a parcel scale that can count. Imagine that you work at a post office and that you have an unknown number of envelopes that have the same dimensions and approximate weight. Your boss tells you to count them because you'll need to know how many envelopes there really is. Now this could take you the whole day to do or you could simply let your parcel scale do the counting. First, let it memorize how much a numbered stack of envelope samples weigh then after it stores this in its 'brain', you can just put a stack on the weighing pan of the device and it'll tell you how many envelopes is probably there based on the sample stack you introduced to it. Now you won't be sure that the number you get is exact, you'll probably get plus or minus an envelope, but for a machine to do that is amazing. These parcel scales are so amazing that some of them even have a talk function. This is could have been purposed for individuals with visual challenges or the weird postal personnel.
The class of weighing machines represented by parcel scales is truly a wonderful breed of specialized machinery that has become an all important cog in any postal services mechanisms. Without it, we might as well go back to the time of the Greeks and the Romans where scales were more often involved in dastardly deceit rather than equal standards. Let's appreciate how the lowly parcel scale has brought us due weight in these weighty times.