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.

Plumbing Leaks

If your water bill reflects high water usage out of the ordinary, here are some options for you:

  • Contact the Customer Service Department at (314) 822-5843 to discuss your water bill and to determine whether it is necessary for your water meter to be re-read.
  • Once you have spoken with Customer Service about your water bill and water meter reading, it may be necessary for you to contact the Kirkwood Water Department at (314) 984-5936 to arrange for us to check the premises for plumbing leaks. This service is free.
  • Appointments for leak checks are available on Monday through Friday. The individual who meets with Water Department personnel will need to be at least 16 years of age, and available to allow us access to the premises either between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon, or between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., in two-hour increments. During a check for leaks, we will only make observations and recommendations to you regarding possible plumbing repairs. We do not perform private plumbing repairs. Please note that the Kirkwood Water Department is only responsible for maintenance of the water meter that measures water consumption. Private plumbing repairs are performed at the property owner’s expense. Plumbing leaks, especially toilet leaks, are the cause of most high water bills. The American Water Works Association web site offers some interesting information about residential water usage and water leaks. Their web site is:
  • Testing of a water meter for accuracy can be performed by maintenance personnel at the customer’s request only if the water meter has first been re-read and the premises has been checked for leaks.