OERTLING fine British balances from 1847 to 1996

a brief history

Ludwig Oertling
Founder Ludwig Oertling (1818-1893 ) was a German instrument maker who came to England in 1844 and worked as a instrument maker. In 1847 he set up his own business which at sometime was at 12 Store Street, London. From about 1854 to 1860 he collaborated with George H Makins(assayer to the Bank of England) to produce a "Improved Assay Balance".It was so successful it became the prototype for many generations of Oertling assay balances. From 1861 to 1867 he worked in partnership with Edward Wilds Ladd in London.

The earliest known Oertling balance was manufactured in London in 1847 ;known as the Beale balance ,named after the person who purchased it for three pounds and seventeen shillings.This balance survived until about 1992 when it sadly went missing during the move from St Mary Cray to the Avery site at Smethwick.

After the death of Ludwig Oertling in 1893 his son Henry ran the company until his death in 1921.The company was sold to W & T Avery in 1925 and continued to manufacture at Naylor Road,Peckham in south London.This factory was badly damaged by German bombing during the second world war.

In 1952 the company moved to a purpose built factory at St Mary Cray Orpington, Kent. It kept open a repair centre at 23 Charterhouse Street, London which closed in about 1960.In 1992 the company moved to the Avery site (Soho Foundry) at Smethwick ,Birmingham.

The last Oertling balances were manufactured in 1996 , many are still in use to this day (2012) . Earlier models after being in use for many years have become collectors items and are tribute to the very fine engineering and cabinet making skills of the company.

This web site gives only a very brief history of the company and it's products, I hope at least gives some recognition to it's importance as a British balance manufacturer for almost 150 years.

by Tony Morris - June 2012