The year was 1934. The device? One of the most terrifying contraptions ever conceived: A scale, which, for a penny, announces your weight out loud. "Persons who are hard of hearing can amplify the tone, and there is no chance of misinformation, since the machine repeats the weight several times." Yes, that's right, several times. Plus, "the machine is equipped with a loudspeaker." Shudder! (Click the picture for the full advertisement.) [Modern Mechanix]
She has to check to see if that tapeworm she bought is actually working.
They had an old 1940's era scale that did this at the Woolworths at the mall. They swapped it for one that gave you your horoscope rolled up in a little tube right before they closed.