The office of public weigher was inaugurated by the Texas legislature in 1874. The weigher was to weigh all cotton, wool, hides, and other staples offered for sale. The governor was empowered to appoint public weighers in cities where a specified amount of cotton was sold annually and at such other places as he thought expedient. In 1883 any county without an appointed weigher was allowed to elect one if the commissioners' court so desired. An act of 1899 provided that a public weigher might be elected in each justice precinct if a majority of the voters petitioned the commissioners' court. A law of 1919 provided for the election of the official in each justice precinct, but the governor still appointed the weighers in certain cities. The elective office could be abolished at an election if county citizens so desired. In 1967 the Texas legislature transferred the power of appointing public weighers from the governor's office to the secretary of state. In 1979 there were at least two elected public weighers. By the 1980s and 1990s many counties had abolished the office, and though public weighers were still officially recognized by law, the office's functions were largely obsolete. By this time the power of appointment was handled by the Texas Department of Agriculture.