Stories from the Collection 1-
A Curious Case of Ottoman Baker Huseyin


Digging up photos in the archives takes us to unexpected journeys. Here is a photo, documenting the weight production process from the 1930s when the weight system has been standardized in the Republic of Turkey.


Weight production. Early 1930s, Istanbul.

In fact, the effort to standardize weights and measures has always been a concern throughout the history of different administrative bodies. It has been, indeed, very important in order to build a trust relationship in terms of the daily activities of common people in market places.

To maintain the accuracy of the weights and measures, routine controls were performed. For example, as a means of preventing fraudulence of weights and measures in trade, the Ottoman government made it compulsory that weights and other measuring instruments be inspected and stamped. Officials, known as muhtesib, were appointed for this purpose. Thanks to the court records of 18th century, it is understood that bakeries were more likely to be controlled by the officials.

A court record of 18th century shows that a baker whose name is Huseyin was sentenced to 24 days in the prison of Boğazkesen Castle (known as Rumelihisari as well) due to the incorrect measures that he used for bread making process. The condition of his release was “not to repeat the same mistake again”.

Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection hosts various object types, from the stamped Ottoman balances to the Republic era’s standardized weights. Come and join us to discover the hidden stories of the collection further!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *