Hamilton has recently celebrated 100 years in business, and what a fantastic ride it has been! Full of challenges and opportunities – we’ve met every obstacle, blazed new trails, and maintained our commitment to excellence and innovation throughout it all.

Penny Scales

Our company was established in 1921, known as Hamilton Scale Co., producing penny-operated weigh scales. At the time, home weighing scales were not available to the general public, nor was it a standard practice at doctors appointments.

As diet culture grew and health and technology advanced, penny scales became immensely popular in the United States. According to a 1937 Department of Conservation report, “Penny scales were the principle means of over 130,000,000 people keeping in touch with their weight and health.”

These penny scales were sold (or rented) as a stream of revenue for stores and companies. A vintage Hamilton ad boasts: “Here’s Advertising Display that REALLY Pays for Itself.” Our novelty scales were particularly popular – including scales featuring Mr. Peanut, Humpty Dumpty, huge soda bottles, and more.


 “...penny scales were popping up in movie theaters, groceries, train stations, drug stores — anywhere you might find vending machines. In essence, that’s what they were at this point: huge and decorative, they came with clanging bells or internal phonographs that would play a tune while weighing you. These early scales were less like medical devices and more like fairground amusements.” Kelsey Miller for Elemental in 2021

Shoe Shiners, Postage Vending, Calling Cards, & Changers

In addition to penny scales – shoe shiners, postage vending machines, phone calling card dispensers, and changers were also among Hamilton’s original products. We developed and advanced technology to make autonomous purchases possible and obtainable to the average consumer. Prior to this technology, every monetary transaction had to be done personally between merchant and consumer.

Car Wash Kiosks

Automated kiosks are common-place at tunnel and self-serve car washes today, but this was brand-new technology in the early 1980’s. Hamilton designed and developed the industry’s first unattended car wash kiosk. Car wash kiosks remain Hamilton’s most popular product, and we are committed to remaining an industry-leader as this technology continues to advance. Most recently, we’ve integrated state-of-the-art RFID and LPR technology with our kiosks and software, to further automate the car wash experience.

Parking, Amusement, Transit, & More 

After taking the car wash industry by storm, we expanded to offer automated ticketing machines for transit authorities, parking, and amusement. Our self-serve kiosks have applications in numerous industries and areas that never could have been anticipated 100 years ago.

Software and Mobile Apps

In 2015, Hamilton debuted our first venture in the software world with Hosted Solutions, our cloud-based software. Hosted Solutions allows car wash owners to access real-time data, and maintain a customer database.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Hosted Solutions is the ability to support a custom-built Mobile App. In 2017, Hamilton was one of the first companies to offer mobile apps directly to car wash owners. With our Custom Mobile App, car washes are able to market their services directly to customers and increase customer brand loyalty. 

The Next 100 Years

We’re eager and excited as Hamilton Manufacturing enters its second century in business. We don’t know what the next 100 years will bring, but we’re prepared to rise to any challenge and continue our commitment to excellence into the next era. Thank you for an amazing first hundred years, and here’s to many more.

Bob with Mr. Peanut Scale

Hamilton’s President, Bob Krist, poses with an original Mr. Peanut penny scale. The scale still functions perfectly today.

close up of Mr. Peanut scale today
close up of vintage Mr. peanut scale suggested weight table
close up of Mr. Peanut scale today