Scale, Balance

A small set of bronze and copper balance scales from the Gairloch. The scales have two round copper weighing pans attached to a brass beam by thin lengths of chain. There is an illegible makers mark stamped on the beam.
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These scales were salvaged from the wreck of the Gairloch on the Taranaki coast near Weld Road, Oakura, in 1903 by a 17-year-old farmhand Fred Cowling. There was an official salvage following the wreck of the coastal steamer on 5 January 1903 and then the wreck was sold to to Mr A. Bayly for £20 and the residual cargo was sold to Mr H. Mills for five shillings. The wreck was beginning to break up by mid-April 1903 and Fred was allowed to take a bullock cart down to the wreck to take away anything he wanted. Fred and his family retained a special link with the wreck and for many years made an annual visit to the site of the stranding. This tradition was maintained by his daughter, Dorice Cowling-Holmes and her family until at least 2003.
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