Monday, May 14, 2012

Hand held letter weighing machine

The above image from net.

In my office, there used to be one Nagaraja who was serving as helper.  He left us many  years ago after he retired. He used to assist his boss of another department [before he came to us] in many things including mailing his boss' correspondence.  His boss used to tour abroad a lot.  

This was in the 1980s when I used to be in the hobby of penfriendship and writing letters to various International Radio Stations [it was another hobby].  Mailing letters to friends and radio stations was a very frequent business. To be within the minimum range of 20 grams per envelope, I needed a balance to weigh the envelope.  Sometimes, I had put an extra picture card or a sheet of paper in the envelope and that exceeded 20 grams and and I had to pay postage for the next slab, even if it was 22 grams since the envelope had been closed and stuck.  It pinched! 

This Nagaraja knew about my hobby as I used to give him my mails also for mailing to save myself from going to the post office.  He frequented the PO and so I also used to get postage stamps from him.  He also used to  happily do this service for many in the organization.  He was such a fine helpful man.  I have to remember him in this post and that is the least tribute I can give. People did not call him Nagaraja, but often called him by his initials K.T., because this 'Nagaraja' name is very common, like Smith!  Nagaraja would return the exact amount of change as was his wont and also ask if there was any shortage.  He had that strict discipline, even if it was his boss. 

His boss had given him a little hand-held letter weighing machine.  He had showed it to me once. It was made in Japan and was so beautiful.  I wanted to search on the web if it was available to show here, but I got only that one above which does not resemble KT's machine.

As was my wont, I wanted to copy it and make one for myself!

KT was kind enough to give that to me for a few days.  I needed  some thin and stiff material to manufacture this. I found a small aluminum sheet in my junk box that suited this project.  This was only to give me a hint if my envelopes were within 20 grams or exceeded it, to save postage! 

I started working on it.  The machine was ready, but the tricky part was to mark the scale.  How do I do it?  I knew the exact weight of some coins.  Fixing the coin or coins to the clip meant for holding the to-be-weighed envelope, I carefully marked, verified, confirmed the place where I had to scratch a line and the digits.  I did it by using a nice needle. For the counter-weight, I had a fly wheel from my childhood toy car. The clip [now rusted] was from some discarded identity card holder.

This is what I replicated.  Picture below.  Its accuracy is reasonable, enough to guide me before I go to the PO. Of course, nowadays, mailing has become minimal with the advent of Internet. I have even used this to get an idea of weight of some heirloom gold jewelry. 

I still use it, 25-27 years on and handle it carefully - as it is of aluminum!

This machine is dedicated to my late colleague, K.T.Nagaraja.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will be published only after the author of the blog reads them. Thanks.