People's History of the NHS


‘Portia’ Baby Balance, 1950s

These scales were used in the early years of the NHS to weigh babies both in hospital and at home . They were usually accompanied by a strong net holder into which the baby was placed and uses a metal spring balance to take accurate weight measurements. It was simple to use and easy to transport and therefore was often used by community and district nurses on their rounds. Today electronic scales are used for weighing newborns and infants.

Science Museum, Brought to Life: Exploring the HIstory of Medicine. Available at:

4 thoughts on “‘Portia’ Baby Balance, 1950s

  1. I have a weighing hook but mine is a brass one. Very accurate during the lbs and ozs days when I was health visiting !

Should you wish to remove a comment you have made, please contact us

Twitter Feed

The information is provided by us and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. We only capture and store personal information with the prior consent of users. Any personal information collected as part of the user registration process or the submission of material (including, but not limited to, name, address, e-mail address) will be stored securely, and accessible only to members of the Cultural History of the NHS project team. We will not sell, license or trade your personal information to others. We do not provide your personal information to direct marketing companies or other such organizations. These opinions do not necessarily represent those of Warwick University or the Wellcome Trust.

This site would like to use cookies to track your usage of the site