November 1 2016

Burlington's Historic Weights & Measures Cabinet Restored and on Display

By: Rich Hosford


Anyone interested in history might want to wander down to Burlington Town Hall after early voting ends on Friday. 


In the main hearing room visitors will find an old and ornate cabinet filled with relics of the past. It is the town’s old Weights and Measures Cabinet that was recently restored and moved from the basement of the Historical Commission’s basement to Town Hall to allow everyone a chance to see it. 


Commission Co-Chair Michael Tredeau was at the most recent Board of Selectmen meeting to explain its history and the process of getting it restored and moved. He said for the last couple of years the commission had taken an interest in the restoration and preservation of the cabinet. 


“It’s not unique but it is rare,” he said. “All communities were issued a cabinet like this in the mid-19th century so all weights and measurements could be standardized throughout the Commonwealth.” 


He said Burlington’s cabinet was almost lost during the Town Hall fire in 1902. 


“It was repaired at that time but has now been restored,” he said. “And we have the full set of the weights and measures. We also have the official yardstick if you want to know exactly what a yard is according to the Commonwealth. There is also a very delicate scale that can be used to measure a feather.” 


Tredeau said he was happy to have the cabinet out of the basement and into a place where it can be seen by the community. 


“It is a win-win for all of us,” he said. “We’ve been in need of storage space at the commission and now everyone can enjoy some history.”


Town Administrator John Petrin praised the commission’s effort with the project.  


“I Commend Mike for this,” he said. “It took a long time and a lot of effort to find someone who could restore this. 


Petrie also applauded Town Meeting’s vote three years ago to approve funds to restore the town’s antiquities. Tredeau agreed. 


“This is one of those projects that was impossible to do until appropriation came through,” he said. 


Members of the board also said the appreciated the project. 


“Nice job, not only on this but all the work you’ve done over the years,” Selectman Mike Runyan said. 


“It’s a great addition to the room and I hope everyone will come and see it,” Chairman Daniel Grattan added. 

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