steel + yard (“enclosed area, rod”).
The sense of “place” is a calque of Dutch staalhof or Middle Low German Stalhof (Modern Dutch staal (“steel”) + hof (“court, yard”)).
The sense of “balance” is presumably from the sense of “place”, originally “steelyard beam”, mixed with additional sense of “rod” (hence “rod for weighing steel”), replacing earlier Latin statera.
A 19th-century steelyard.
steelyard (plural steelyards)
- A transportable balance with unequal arm lengths.
- A place where steel (and possibly other metals as well) is stored and sold.
place where steel is stored and sold