Dutch Antiques in Perth carries an ever-changing inventory of these sought-after antique barometers for sale. But what is the history of these barometers, where do they originate and what kind of barometers are there?
What is a barometer?
A barometer helps measure atmospheric pressure. This device played an important role in temperature and weather prediction. It contributed to the development of the altimeter, and other instruments used to measure changes in altitude. Modern scuba divers use aneroid barometers to keep track of the contents of the air tank.
Scientists often refer to “torrs” of pressure in honour of the Italian mathematician Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647). He created a barometer by inserting a partly sealed glass tube into a cistern of liquid mercury. His work eventually led to the creation of the first commercially available barometers.
An evolving craft
For many years, mercury became the metal of choice for measuring changes in temperature and air pressure. This liquid metal expands and contracts within a vacuum in response to changing environmental conditions. As time passed, scientists learned that liquid mercury is highly toxic.
A great collector’s item
Inventors worked hard to develop completely enclosed cisterns and glass tubing for early mercury barometers. Some of the first devices used heavy wooden frames to promote stability. The decorations used on the exteriors of these useful tools reflected changing design trends. Today, hobbyists sometimes specialise in collecting barometers from different places or historical periods.
How barographs was benefiting from these developments
The appearance of early aneroid barometers in the mid-1800s initially offered a less accurate, yet highly portable, alternative. These metal components eventually became popular as a mechanism widely used within antique barographs, glass-enclosed antique scientific instruments. Barographs recorded changes in barometric pressure on rolled parchment.
Different kind of antique barometers
As with most antique products there has been quite some development throughout the years. From internal mechanics to sizes, materials and weight. The barometer has been developed into different variations as well;
The earliest commercial barometers utilised cisterns of mercury connected to a glass tube. Several types of these “stick” barometers ultimately gained popularity. Some collectors focus on early wooden barometers with visible mercury glass cisterns dating from the later 1600s and early 1700s. Later, manufacturers developed much thinner pieces designed to screw into walls.
Stick And Angled Barometers
Fortin antique stick barometers possessed a screw to permit the adjustment of mercury levels. Kew Pattern pieces relied upon an enclosed mercury cistern. They either hung on a wall, or maintained a free standing “bench” configuration allowing the barometer to sit atop a mantle or a table conveniently. One variation of the cistern barometers, the angled barometer, relied upon a protruding “L-shaped” extension of glass tubing. This feature exaggerated the movements of the mercury column, assisting owners in reading the gauge. Angled barometers typically hung on a fence or a wall.
Banjo Barometers (or Wheel barometer)
By the 1800s, many companies sold barometers employing an enclosed “U-shaped” mercury cistern. An antique banjo barometer like this usually displayed a large visible bulb on the upper end of the device. Somewhat resembling antique wall clocks, they frequently supplied stylish décor qualities. Some Victorian designers utilised ornate carvings and intricate woodworking inlays to decorate these pieces, for instance. Today, collectors prize fine examples of antique banjo barometers.
Metal-encased portable antique pocket barometers also attract the interest of collectors. Some of these pieces date from the early 1800s. Gold and brass supplied popular casing metals. Discover eye-catching antique barometers at Dutch Antiques in Perth. We carry excellent selections of antique barometers for sale. Call (08) 9385-3054 to request assistance!