All rights reserved © Thomas Allgeier This page was last modified on 8/5/20

Jenemann Archive Project

In this section we would like to tell you about the “fruits” of this project - some examples of where we could spread knowledge and add information to the body of historic balance research.



The Professorenwaage by Josef Nemetz, Vienna


While we were still busy scanning the slides and negatives Ritzo received an email from a Swiss researcher who made us aware of the fabulous Josef Nemetz balance which the Museu de Ciência, Universidade do Porto has in its possession. Contact was quickly established with the curator who wanted to find out a bit more about it.


As luck would have it, or perhaps as some dedicated balance historians would have it, a few things fell into place:



Click on the links for a view of the Nemetz balances and details of the museums.


The Bochkoltz Substitution Balance


Not too long after rounding off the write-up on Nemetz another amazing balance was brought to Ritzo’s attention. (All the wires of the worldwide balance network seem to go through his “node”.)


The Physics Department of the University of Lyon in France contacted our Swiss friend (once again) with respect to an old analytical balance they wanted to identify, and the enquiry was quickly sent to Ritzo. He recognised it immediately as possibly the only surviving example of a very early substitution balance designed by W C Bochkoltz, in 1833, and probably made by Deleuil in Paris soon afterwards.


Once again this balance had been written about by Hans Jenemann, including the reproduction of a drawing from an 1833 paper. But no known survivors had been reported, up to now.

We are very proud to be able to show these pictures here, and we are very grateful to Lyon University for preserving this unique artefact.


The significance of this find becomes clear when one considers that the single-pan substitution balance ended up displacing pretty much all other designs of mechanical analytical balances from 1946 onwards. In fact it was, from the 60’s onwards, the only serious contender in the market until the availability of electronic balances signalled the end of the line for mechanics.


To the casual observer it looks like the models introduced after WW2 had no forerunners at all. Not so! Young Mr Bochkoltz - he was only 23 years old at the time - designed a very near equivalent over 100 years earlier. For very good reasons which are well understood and documented it didn’t catch on. This was no fault of his (technology just hadn’t advanced far enough), and we should spare a moment in commemorating his admirable foresight at such an early stage.


Click on the links for pictures of the balance and the drawing from the 1833 paper. A full write-up was produced for Equilibrium, as above.