Hanson Postal Scale
Mail by the Ounce
Five-pound capacity postal scale produced by the Hanson Scale Company, Chicago. After Parcel Post Service began in 1913, the four-pound limit on packages in the U.S. mail was history. The red figures on the scale indicate the postage for airmail, first-class mail three-cent rate, printed matter merchandise, and books and catalogs over twenty-four pages.
Scales became fixtures in post offices in the mid-19th century when postal officials tied postage rates to the weight of the mail. Clerks and postmasters measured letters and packages to ensure customers were charged the right amount of postage. Many customers bought scales to weigh mail before going to the post office.