Gustav Ohaus and the Harvard Trip Balance


OHAUS Corporation was founded in 1907 in Newark, New Jersey and in 1912 Gustav and his son invented the Harvard Trip Balance. It became the standard form of mechanical balances after it was introduced.


A Harvard Trip Balance doesn’t measure weight. The balance measures mass of objects. This has been used on large and small-scale objects and has been used in retail and large manufacturing projects. Many have seen a Harvard Trip Balance in older apothecaries to measure the amount of medication needed for a prescription. It has also been used in larger scale projects to measure raw materials such as metal pieces, screws, and larger parts to create machinery.

To operate the balance, you must have some patience and knowledge of scales. First you need both the grams and decagrams to measure zero, so the scale is balanced. Then you can place the object on the scale for measurement. You move the decagrams until the scales begin to move and then move the grams, so the balance is equal on both sides. This will then tell you the mass of the object.


The Harvard Trip Balance was created so you could measure the mass of an object easily and quickly. While we traditionally know them for using decagrams and grams, they can measure incredibly small objects in milligrams and can measure larger pieces up to kilograms. Some companies in manufacturing or transporting can measure whole shipments on their balance.

This balance has helped people in small and large businesses offer a precise and reliable product or service to their customers. Garber Metrology also offers OHAUS scales so your business can weigh and measure your products or materials precisely and accurately. To offer an accurate measurement be sure you are properly prepared and educated about the scale before use. You will also need a bit of patience because it can take a little time for it to become balanced before offering an exact measurement. This device can, however, offer detailed measurements and can create products that are safe and reliable to use.