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Boxed set of aluminium egg grading test, known as ‘poises’

Early C20th boxed set of aluminium egg grading test ‘poises’ used by Shropshire County Council, Trading Standards.  Part of a large collection of weights and measures used by Trading Standards over their 190 year history.

Since Medieval times weights and measures have been regulated and inspected to protect consumers.  In 1340 the post of the Clerk of the Market was established. The postholder in each town was responsible for ensuring that all false weights and measures were destroyed. Acts of Parliament in the 1830s established the post of Inspector of Weights and Measures and their offices can be seen on Swan Hill next to the old Police Station. 

Today Trading Standards Officers are employed by Local Authorities and deal with a range of other consumer protection legislation including consumer safety, counterfeiting and food hygiene.

Eggs are graded for sale according to their weight.  Machines used to grade eggs would be regularly inspected by Trading Standards who would use a set of test poises to check the calibration of the machine.  These aluminium eggs range from the maximum to the minimum weight for each egg size.  The test poises would be fed into the machine to check that it would grade them correctly.  This set predates decimalisation.

Egg production remains an important part of Shropshire’s agricultural output. Aled Griffiths’ sons now run the family business and are now the largest UK egg producer with over two million hens.