Chinese Opium Scale
A woman in Missoula, Montana bought what looks like an old, miniature fiddle case in the Montana mining town of Butte in the 1960s. When she made the purchase, she was told the case didn’t hold a fiddle, but rather a scale that was used for weighing opium.
Could this really be an antique from the Chinese community of Montana? The Chinese were among the first immigrant groups to arrive in Montana in the 1800s. After the California gold rush petered out, Chinese immigrants moved away to find work building the railroads, mining gold, and in restaurant and laundry businesses.
History Detectives heads to Montana to find out how Chinese immigrants survived for decades in Big Sky Country, particularly during a time when anti-Chinese sentiment was rampant in the U.S.
- Related Investigation Chisholm Trail Did the Chisholm Trail really run through this small town in Texas?
- Related Investigation Kahlil Gibran Painting Is this painting an unknown work by an immigrant poet whose words inspired an American generation?
- Also with Elyse Luray Space Boot What does this odd-looking boot have to do with America's first steps in space?
- Also with Elyse Luray Rogue Book Who did this book of rogue characters belong to?
- Also with Elyse Luray Sideshow Babies Was the owner of this cup once a four-pound sideshow exhibit?
- Also in Expansion: 1801-1861 Annie Oakley Coin Was this coin a target for one of the Wild West's most popular female sharpshooters?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.