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The History of Pocket Watches

Before there were wristwatches, people wore, or brought, pocket watches to help them keep track of time. But other than its practical use, pocket watches were also a symbol of prestige and affluence from its invention in the 16th century and even until today.

Let’s revisit the olden times and discover the history of pocket watches.

The Birth of the First Pocket Watch

Some references say that the earliest mention of the pocket watch was in 1462 when Italian clockmaker Bartholomew Manfred, in a letter, boasted about having a far more superior pocket watch to that of the Duke of Modena’s. However, it was in the early 1500s when German inventor and watchmaker Peter Henlein was credited to have invented the first ever pocket watch, one that did not need weights to drive the movement.

The early versions of the antique pocket watch were far from the ones known today. Instead of being small enough to fit into the pocket, early 16th century pocket watches were bulky, cylindrical, and were worn around the neck. Some had rounded covers, while other pocket watches had grill work allowing the owner to read the time without opening the case. The watch’s movement were constructed from metal, like iron or steel, with pins and wedges holding them together. By the mid-1500s, screws were used to hold the pieces together. Some pocket watches were shaped like an egg, which were called Nuremberg eggs.

Charles II of England and the Waistcoat Pocket Watch

It was in 1675 when the pocket watch evolved from being worn like a necklace to being worn inside pockets or waistcoats. Charles II of England was believed to have introduced this style of the pocket watch. Because of this, the shape of the pocket watch transitioned from being egg-shaped to a flat design, so it easily fits into the vest pocket or waistcoat. Pocket watch makers also began using glass to cover the face of the watch.

From Verge to Cylinder to Lever Escapement

In the early 1700s, French Inventor Jean de Hautefeuille introduced the cylinder escapement which replaced the use of verge escapement in making pocket watches. The verge escapement, which influences the watch’s ticking mechanism, ran too fast, resulting in inaccurate time readings. Oftentimes, watches with verge escapement ran about an hour or more in a day.

The cylinder escapement, while it offered a better mechanism than the verge escapement, still was inaccurate at telling time. Thomas Mudge introduced another improvement, the lever escapement, which until today is a staple in many mechanical watches.

Standardisation of Pocket Watches

Once a symbol of elitism, the pocket watch became more affordable to the masses in the mid-19th century. Clockmakers started producing pocket watches with interchangeable parts, so they became less expensive, while being more durable and accurate at telling time. Pocket watches also started gaining popularity in the Americas.

20th Century Pocket Watches

Interest in pocket watches began to fade with the emergence of wristwatches during the early 1900s. Instead of being part of everyday wear, pocket watches were considered heirloom. However, it regained popularity 1950s when James Dean began using a pocket watch and calling it his lucky charm.

Tell Time in Style

We have antique pocket watches in our wide selection of antique time pieces. View our assortment of special antique pocket watches for sale.

Three 20th Century Barometers

Invented by Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli in the 1600s, a barometer is a meteorological device that measures pressure in the atmosphere. Barometers measure air pressure, helping forecasters predict the weather. There are two common categories of barometers: mercury and aneroid barometers.

Besides being used in weather forecasting, barometers can also be a unique and collectible home décor, especially those that were designed and built during the 20th century or earlier.

Three 20th Century Barometers

Antique barometers come in various types, including banjo barometers, stick barometers, and pocket barometers. Below are some barometers from the 20th century that you’ll want to display in your home or add to your collection.

Sputnik Barometer (1960)

Sputnik Barometers were made during the mid-1900s in Germany, taking inspiration from the series of satellites that were launched by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s.

This mid-century barometer weather station is a multi-purpose device that includes a barometer as its main feature. It also comes with a thermometer for measuring temperature and a hygrometer for testing humidity. The instruments are housed in a globe made of clear plexiglass. The sphere housing the device sits atop a black compass that slots onto a wooden stand. The stand is adorned with a support ring made from brass.

This rare barometer is not only an eye-catcher but also an interesting conversation starter, whether it is displayed on a bookshelf, dresser or coffee table.

Marine Barograph (1950)

A barograph is a type of barometer that continuously records changes in atmospheric pressure in the form of a graph. Changes are logged on a sheet or a rotating drum through a writing arm that rises and falls, depending on barometric pressure. Barographs are essential in marine operations, predicting weather conditions at sea to help sailors in planning their course.

Short & Mason, a company renowned for making precision weather instruments which was founded in London in 1864 made this marine barograph. It is a one-of-a-kind barograph that was used on the MV Lady Aryette. The barograph, together with the rotating drum, is set inside a painted metal case. On one side of the drum barometer is a glass panel that displays the device, while on the top is a metal carrying handle.

French Pocket Barometer (1900)

French pocket barometer

Pocket barometers, as the name suggests, are miniature versions of a barometer. Pocket barometers were manufactured in the 19th century and worn in waistcoat pockets. Hikers and balloonists typically use them as most pocket barometers also function as an altimeter.

This pocket barometer is an aneroid barometer, which measures air pressure using mechanical parts instead of mercury. It comes in its original leather casing with a purple velvet lining.

What’s the Weather Today?

If you’re looking for antique barometers for sale, check out our wide selection of collectibles here. Should the piece you’re looking for is not in our collection, we can help source it for you.

We also sell antique clocks, antique medical instruments, and reference books on horology and offer antique clocks repair and restoration services.

Different Wood Materials for Antique Clocks

Antique clocks are an excellent investment because of the durability and the beautiful characteristics it adds to the design. Besides telling time, antique clocks are considered works of art, showcasing the clockmaking skills of those who designed them. Clocks can enhance the look of a bare wall and make an elegant substitute for a mirror, painting or picture frame.

If you’re looking for antique clocks for sale, you may come across clocks made from different materials such as brass, chrome, silver and gold. Wood is one of the most common materials used for making clocks. Wooden antique clocks are a popular choice for many collectors because not only are they durable, but they can also easily blend well in many home interior designs.

Different Types of Wood Materials for Antique Clocks

Wooden vintage or antique clocks bring a rustic yet elegant appeal to any space. Below are some of the common wood materials used in making antique clocks.


Oakwood possesses many properties that make it a suitable choice for manufacturing flooring and furniture. It is a hardwood; hence it is dense and non-porous, making it resistant to moisture and shrinkage. Oak contains high quantities of tannin, so it is resistant to fungi and insects. There are many species of oak wood, but white oak and red oak are the most widely used varieties in furniture making because of their strength, durability, and versatility.

A distinguishing feature of oak wood is its straight-grained pattern, which can be observed in both white and red oak species. White oak typically possesses an attractive light beige to brown colour, while red oak is on the rosier end of the colour spectrum. Colours may turn darker over time, especially with exposure to sunlight and oxygen.

Black Walnut

Black walnut wood is a tough type of hardwood that is resistant to decay. However, it is vulnerable to insect infestation.

The colours of walnut wood vary based on the part of the tree the timber is sourced from. The heartwood ranges from light to dark chocolate brown, while the sapwood comes in lighter shades, typically yellow to almost white. Some walnut wood can have a red, grey, or even purple appearance. Unlike other types of timber, black walnut wood gets lighter as it ages.

The grain is usually straight, but some black walnut wood patterns curl, look wavy, or form knots. In terms of texture, black walnut wood has a smooth finish.


Many woodworkers prize maple wood for its light, creamy colour. Just like other types of hardwood, maple wood turns darker over time or when exposed to oxygen and UV light. Maple wood possesses a fine, straight pattern, but some varieties have wavy, rippled, or bird’s eye grain.

Hard maple is typically used in woodworking for its resistance to warping and cracking. It also holds up well against changes in temperature and humidity.


Cherry is commonly used for woodworks and furniture making because of its attractive colour and smooth texture. Because it is a medium density hardwood, cherry wood is durable but flexible and has low stiffness. It is easy to cut, carve, or mould.

The colours of cherry wood can appear yellowish to light reddish-brown. It will darken as it age, but exposure to light and oxygen can speed up the aging process.

Add a Rustic Touch to Your Home with a Wooden Antique Clock

Searching for antique wooden clocks? We have a wide selection of antique carriage clocks, grandfather clocks, mantel clocks and many more. You can also hire our services if your antique clock needs repair or restoration. Take a look at our collection here for the finest antique clocks in Australia.

Clock of the month May – “Amsterdammer”

One of the more high end antique clocks for sale at Dutch Antiques is the “Amsterdammer” – a Dutch longcase clock, named after the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

This colossal and impressive clock measures 285m and is a fine addition to a larger space at home or in an office.

When we look at the finer details of the clock we see that the oak case is veneered with walnut. The dial is made of brass with a moon and calendar phase in the arch.

But it’s not just the visual and physical presence that makes this clock great.  With a Dutch strike on two bells, this clock also stimulates the ear as much as it stimulates the eye. With a beautiful sound and an impressive size, this clock is an excellent choice for an antique collector or someone who is looking to give a finishing touch to a special room.

Antique clock of the month – March

Often the shape of a clock is one of the remarkable features. However the Grandfather clock of the month March also catches the eye by its colour.

antique grandfather clock also called a longcase clock

This beautiful antique French long case clock has an beautiful white colour which suits many indoor areas, even when you are looking for lighter accessories for your home.

The enamel dial has a large enamel dial and a duration of 14 days. With its impressive 2m14 in height this timber painted grandfather clock is a piece that will impress everyone who sees this clock.

The clock is around 150 years old and dates from circa 1870.

Come to our shop to see this clock in person and you will love it from the first moment you lay your eyes on it.

We also have other antique grandfather clocks for sale. You can visit our webshop or our store in Perth, WA.


Antique Weather Instruments

People have relied on various weather instruments and antique weather houses throughout the ages to help them know current weather conditions and predict future ones.

Antique barometers

Evangelista Torricelli receives credit for creating the first barometer in 1644 while working with the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei. He filled a tube with mercury and inverted it on a tray. Then, he watched as the mercury levels rose and fell. It was not until 1843 that French scientist Lucien Vidie invented the first fluid-less barometer. View the antique barometer for sale in our store.

Antique thermometer

Many credit Galileo Galilei with creating the first thermometer in 1596, but that is technically incorrect. Galilei invented the instrument, but it did not measure degrees. It did indicate differences in the amount of heat in an environment. Instead, Italian Santorio Santorio should receive credit for inventing the first thermometer in 1612 that measured temperatures in degrees. Its performance, however, was inferior as it was greatly affected by changes in air pressure. It was not until the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II invented the first sealed liquid-in-glass thermometer in 1654 that measurements became more accurate. Gabriel Fahrenheit, who devised the Fahrenheit measuring scale, invented the first mercury thermometer.

Wind Vanes

Among the oldest weather instruments are wind vanes. Andronicus fashioned the first one in 48 B.C. to look like the Greek god Triton. Leon Battista Alberti invented the first anemometer in 1450. Present-day anemometers often have cups to measure the wind’s velocity. In 1846, John Thomas Robinson invented the first anemometer to have cups.

Rain Gauges

Who invented the first rain gauge is open to debate. Archaeologists have unearthed records showing that people recorded when it rained before the first century. Some claim King Sejong the Great’s son in Korea who created the first rain gauge. He sent a rain measuring device to every community in the country between 1418 and 1450. The government then charged land taxes based on the amount of water in the bucket, believing it showed the farm’s harvest potential. Others say that the first rain gauge was not invented until between 1677 and 1694 by Richard Torrey in Great Britain. Torrey’s device, which relied on a tipping bucket, was the first rain gauge with measurements.

We are proud to offer many types of antique weather instruments for sale. If you can’t find the product you are after in our online catalogue, then let us use our wide circle of sources to find it for you. Please visit us in our Perth, Western Australia. We also ship across Australia, to the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and any other country.

Collecting antique scientific instruments

Collecting antiques is a common hobby of many enthusiasts. Combine the love for collecting antiques with the fascination for science and you’ll understand that collecting antique scientific instruments is the favourite pastime for a passionate group of people. The great thing about scientific instruments is the history and stories behind every instrument.

The field of scientific instruments is quite vast, from instruments used for research (such as a microscope or antique telescope) to antique surgical instruments that were used in the operating theatre. Whichever instruments sparks your interest, every single item has a story to tell. Below we’ll have an overview of some of the antique scientific instruments that we have or have had in stock. If you are looking for a particular kind of instrument and you can’t find it in our online shop, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We may have not uploaded it to our website or we can help you find the item that you are looking for.

Star celestial

Antique Microscopes

The basic principles of how an optical microscope works have not changed much. Antique microscopes are a natural extension of the magnifying glass and they were first perfected by Galileo. Many great discoveries in the last few centuries were made by microscopes having one of these would be interesting.

Antique Telescopes

The refractor telescope has been used for many purposes from seeing great distances at sea to astronomy. Galileo is the first person known to have looked at the sky using a telescope. Many discoveries both on Earth and in space were made with an antique telescope. Owning a piece of this history would be interesting.

Antique Compass

Compasses are used to find magnetic north. Because a compass needle always points north because of the Earth’s magnetic field it has been used in navigation for centuries. Many great discoveries have been made with their help making it an interesting piece of history to own. View our antique pocket compass collection.

Antique Medical Instruments

There are numerous types of antique medical instruments. These can be interesting because while some of them parallel instruments that are used today some of them are clearly outdated. Owning some of these instruments would be interesting, particularly the outdated ones.

Antique Orrery

An orrery is a model of the solar system is designed to show and calculate the relative position of the planets in the Solar System. They are actually a form of an early mechanical computer making an excellent collector’s item.

Antique Hourglass

Hourglasses are simple time-keeping devices where sand flows from one side to the other by gravity at a constant rate. These are among the earliest man-made timekeeping devices and possibly the first that did not rely upon the Sun. Antique hourglasses are an excellent collector’s item.

Antique Radiometer

A radiometer consists of dark and light paddle-like surfaces inside a glass bulb with a vacuum inside. This allows the absorption and emission of light to cause the paddles to rotate. Today they are toys but they were originally designed to measure light and other forms of radiation. An antique radiometer can be shown off as it rotates just by the light in the room.

Antique Barometers

Antique barometers come in many shapes and sizes, their purpose is to measure air pressure. Antique barometers are often quite decorative as well as functional. As a result, they make excellent showpieces for the collector.

Antique Chronometers

Antique chronometers are high-precision timepieces which for their time were amazingly accurate. They were often designed for use at sea and in labs. For the Collector they make an excellent showpiece particularly if they still work.

Antique scientific instruments are amazing things to look at because they were often made with not just functionality but a touch of beauty as well. Dutch Time Pieces is the starting place to start with or expand your collection of antique scientific instruments. For both the collector and someone who is just interested in the history of science you will find many interesting antique scientific instruments in our shop.

The History of Cuckoo Clocks

The earliest reference to a cuckoo clock was found in the inventory of the Prince Elector of Saxony in 1619, but since real cuckoo clocks were not developed for another century, this clock was probably decorated with a bird. Legend has it that a peddler came from Bohem, the land of the Czechs, with a crude mechanical clock. The gears were wooden and it used stones for weights with no pendulum. The mechanism was called a wood beam clock. The people of the Black Forest were poor although they were talented wood carvers. They began to make clocks, which they embellished with grapevines, birds, hunting scenes. They created little figures that would come out of the clock on the half-hour and the hour and dance. Some clocks had a rooster come out and crow.

In 1712 Friedrich Dilger, a clockmaker, heard about new technology in France and spent a year learning new ways to make clocks, bringing the technology back. Looking for an antique cuckoo clock for sale? Visit our webshop or our shop in Perth, WA.

Franz Anton Ketterer
A clockmaker in the village of Schonwald in the Black Forest substituted a small bird for the more complex figures. Franz Anton Ketterer may have gotten his inspiration from the rooster clocks. He had found that by using a pair of tiny bellows, blowing air through two little pipes, he could reproduce the call of the cuckoo, which was an easier sound to emulate and more pleasant as well.

Development of an Industry
The cuckoo clocks became a trend. Local people needed a new income source. Since inheritance followed the tradition of primogeniture, the oldest son inheriting everything, there were a lot of younger sons who needed work. They took up clock making quickly. The local people began to specialise as manufacturing grew into a large cottage industry. Carvers made the decorations. Carpenters created the boxes. Metal workers made the gears and chains. Artists painted the final product. In 1850, the Duke of Baden founded a clock-making school, which taught mathematics and drawing, more than the mechanics of manufacture.

Cuckoo clocks continue to be made in the Black Forest although with modern tools and technology. But the descendants of Dilger and Ketterer create their marvels with the same centuries old pride of workmanship. Cuckoo clocks are a truly great addition to our assortment of antique clocks.

Dutch Antiques in Perth: Discover Exceptional Antique Barometers

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.

Evangelista Torricelli

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;

Cistern Barometers

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.

Portable 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!

Antique instrument of the Month – January

This month we have a very special product in the Product of the Month category. Not only is the product special, but this piece has a history in WA itself. It has been used by the Botanical department of well-known University of Western Australia (UWA).

The product of this month is the Abney level. It is an instrument that is used in surveying. It has been invented around 1870 in the UK. The usage of the antique Abney level hasn’t changed much and some even refer to old antique handbooks for explanation on how to use them.

Have a look at this antique Abney level in our online store or visit our shop in Nedlands. We also offer a dynamic range of wonderful different antique scientific instruments.