Antique Measuring Instrument Collection - Apothecary/Chemical Beam Balance Scale

Bookmark this page Apothecary/Chemical Beam Balance Scale

  • Maker: S. Maw Son & Thompson
  • Date: c1890
  • Description and Notes:

    The top lacquered brass parts of this scale can be disassembled and neatly stored in the drawer of the mahogony box below (the walnut plank divided weight stroage compartment was a later restoration) for traveling purpose. This type of scales are described in Scientific Instruments, 1500-1900: An Introduction, p. 121, as "... required a high degree of preccision, and were masterpieces of the instrument maker's craft."

    Although the box of this scale bears the mark of S Maw Son & Thompson, the scale by itself was made by Stevens & Son. Charles Stevens and his son William were at 38 Goswell Road, London E.C. in 1881. The following history of S Maw, Son & Sons Ltd., is quoted from The Pharmaceutical Industry: A Guide to Historical Records, edited by Lesley Richmond, et al.:

    S Maw, Son & Sons Ltd.,
    Monken Hadley, Barnet, London

    Manufacturing chemist

    The business was founded as Hornby & Maw at Fenchurch Street, London, in 1807 by George Maw, originally a Lincolnshire farmer, in joint partnership with his cousin Hornby. This was a short-lived venture and in 1814 Maw left to purchase a surgical plaster factory in Whitecross Street, London. The factory soon began to manufacture surgical instruments and later expanded to produce druggists' sundries, toiletries and pharmaceutical products.

    Maw's eldest son, John Hornby Maw, was sent to study under Abernethey and Stanley at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in order to obtain an understanding of the requirements of surgeons. John was taken into partnership by his father in 1826, and the firm was renamed George Maw & Son.

    George retired in 1828 and his second son, Solomon, joined his brother in partnership. In 1832 the firm was trading as J & S Maw. John retired in 1835 due to ill health and under Solomon the business expanded rapidly.

    The firm's first catalogue was produced in 1830, outclassing many rival publications with its lavish illustrations. Following several moves within the City, the business eventually settled at 7-12 Aldersgate Street, premises that had to be completely rebuilt following a fire in 1856.

    In 1860 Solomon's son, Charles, was taken into partnership and the business was restyled S Maw & Son. On Solomon's death in 1861, Charles took sole charge of the business until 1870 when John Thompson, who had served the firm as a traveller for 10 years, was made a partner and the business was renamed S Maw Son & Thompson.

    In 1901 the business was incorporated as a limited liability company, styled S Maw, Son & Sons Ltd, following Thompson's retirement. By this time Charles Trentham Maw and Mowbray T Maw were directors and were joined in 1901 by Dr. H T Maw.

    Owing to lack of space in inner London after the First Warld War, the company purchased a 22-acre estate at Monken Hadley, Barnet, in 1920 to which it re-located some of its manufacturing operations. The transfer was completed in 1940. Following this the company was renamed Maws pharmacy Supplies Ltd, and in 1959 acquired the business of Felstead manufacturing Co Ltd.

    In 1965 a new limited liability company, S Maw Son & Sons Ltd, was incorporated, to acquire the businesses of Maws Pharmacy Supplies Ltd and Felstead Manufacturing Co Ltd. Shares in S Maw Son & Sons Ltd were jointly owned by the holding company of the trade association, the National Pharmaceutical Union, NPU Holdings Ltd, and Norcros Ltd, Reading. In the same year a commercial agreement was signed between S Mar Son & Sons Ltd and NPU Holdings Ltd, whereby the former agreed to distribute products sponsored by the National Pharmaceutical Union. This contract operated until 1974.

    In 1973 Norcros Ltd sold its shares in S Maw Son & Sons to the American company, International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation Inc, which traded as ITT Inc. S Maw Son & Sons Ltd was acquired shortly afterwards as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITT Inc, a company which, in 1973, owned 333 subsidiary companies which had no apparent corporate or technical relationship with each other and no obvious link with the pharmaceutical industry.

  • More Pictures:

    Front View  | Side View  | Back View  | Closer look of the lower level and hinge  | Upper level and hinge


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