Austin Cotton Scale Used from 1897 to 1981

An industrial scale to weigh white gold

Print Page

From the Civil War through the 1920s, "King Cotton" ruled the Texas economy. The agricultural year revolved around its spring planting, hot summer cultivation, and the late August harvest, which involved cotton pickers from adults to small children. Then began the industrial process of ginning (separating the cotton from its seeds) and baling the cotton into huge bundles to ship to market.

This Howe industrial scale was built into the floor of McKean Eilers & Co., a wholesale dry goods firm in Austin, and was in continuous use there from 1897 until 1981. It is capable of weighing up to 2000 pounds of cotton. Although oil took over as "king" of the Texas economy, cotton remains the state's most profitable agricultural product.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Austin Cotton Scale Used from 1897 to 1981 Artifact from McKean Eilers Building, Austin, Travis County
Share Your Story

Make your mark on Texas History

Share Your Story
or
Browse All Stories

Read stories from people across Texas

Browse All Stories