Weigh lock

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A weigh lock on the Lehigh Canal around 1873

A weigh lock is a specialized canal lock designed to determine the weight of barges in order to assess toll payments based upon the weight and value of the cargo carried. This requires that the unladen weight of the barge be known.

A barge to be weighed was brought into a supporting cradle connected by levers to a weighing mechanism. The water was then drained and the scale balance adjusted to determine the barge gross weight. Subtracting the tare weight (the weight of the barge when empty) would give the cargo weight. Originally, weighlocks measured the weight of the barge by measuring the displacement of water in the lock after the barge had entered. This method also requires that the unladen weight of the barge be known.

Weigh lock on the Erie Canal in Syracuse, New York,in 1903. Today this building is the Erie Canal Museum.


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