• Salem Maritime National Historic Site

    Salem Maritime

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

The Scale House

The Scale House is a brick structure about the size of a two story garage

The Scale House is where U.S. Customs Service equipment was stored.

NPS Photo

The Scale House, built in 1829, was used as a storage facility for the scales and other equipment required to weigh cargo that was unloaded from a ship.

The scales were never used in this building. Rather, they were carted to the wharf and assembled alongside a recently returned vessel. There, the goods were weighed and measured, and later duties were assessed on the cargo.

 

For More Information:

The Salem Custom House

The U.S. Custom Service in Salem

Issues of our occasional publication, Pickled Fish and Salted Provisions
A Large Scale Enterprise” Volume 4, Number 1 (143 KB pdf files)

Did You Know?

The octant is a navigational tool based on the curve of one eighth of a circle. It measures angles for solar and celestial navigation.

In 1799, Salem native Nathaniel Bowditch revised John H. Moore's New Practical Navigator, the standard navigation manual of the 18th century. Bowditch discovered and corrected over 8,000 errors in Moore's manual! In 1802, Bowditch published the New American Practical Navigator.