A trip to the general store was not an everyday event and because of this, goods were sold in bulk by weight. A farmer might purchase a few months worth of a particular item. Products at the general store were not individually packaged like they are today. The storekeeper would use scales to weigh out a particular amount, then wrap the item or place it in a jug the customer brought along.
Balance Scale, 19th century, metal, glass, marble, H: 7 xL: 14 xW:7 in. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of T.H. Hugles, F0563.1946a.