RARE 19TH CENTURY FRENCH SALT SCALE
WITH WALNUT BASE
Item # LFALO2609
A rare 19th century brass and iron balance scale used for measuring salt, found in Montpellier having a hand forged iron upright surmounted by a brass finial, supporting a balance beam stamped 'P. TREK' with a metal pan and weight hanging from tripod chains on one side and a thick glass bowl for the salt hanging on the other side. Mounted on a walnut box with with a single drawer. The markings on the beam are from the controller to show the scales were balanced and in proper working order. An exceptional culinary antique with a wonderful patina. You don't have to be an epicure or connoisseur to appreciate this one.
For centuries the French people were forced to buy all their salt from royal depots. The social symbolism of salt was painfully evident also. As late as the 18th century, the rank of guests at a banquet was determined by where they sat in relation to an often elaborate silver salt cellar on the table. The host and “distinguished” guests sat "above the salt" or at the head of the table while those of little consequence sat "below the salt" or farthest from the host. The gabelle, or salt tax, was so high during the reign of Louis XVI that it became a major grievance and eventually helped ignite the French Revolution.
h - 39.5"
w - 30.75"
d - 12.5"
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