Spotlight

Refurbished Antique Railroad Scale on Display at Kirkwood Train Station

On the scale of such things, a rusting, 100-year-old, wooden contraption, covered in cobwebs and looking like it’s only good for running over toes, may have seemed destined for a landfill or a scrap metal recycler.  Kirkwood and the region at large are lucky that Bill Burckhalter, the Kirkwood Train Station manager, saw "the contraption’s" value and resisted that temptation.

When the City of Kirkwood purchased the Train Station back in 2003, it inherited a variety of old furniture and equipment, including one cast-iron-and-wood, 100-year-old railroad scale, which Bill found in a storage closet.  It was manufactured around the turn of the 20th century by Fairbanks-Morse, a company that still makes scales.  Even the manufacturer was unsure exactly how old the scale is, but they were able to furnish some important details that helped in its refurbishing.

Bill enlisted the help of fellow City staff in Fleet Services, and they went to work on its restoration.  First, they talked to representatives at Fairbanks-Morse, who donated new decals and provided the original paint colors.  The scale was then disassembled, bead blasted (similar to sand blasting), painted, its brass polished, and then re-assembled.  Ace Hardware in Des Peres donated the paint.

Most modern scales are metal, but the Kirkwood scale is largely made of wood (everything in blue in the photo is wood).  It was likely used by the Missouri Pacific Railroad to weigh freight.  The fleet staff constructed a wooden platform to secure the scale and prevent it from rolling so it could be kept on display at the Train Station, where Kirkwood residents can visit it any time the station is open.
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Kirkwood Police Department

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