Charles Edwin - antique barometers

All of these have been sold, but we're keeping this section
because information about barometers is often hard to find.

Classic George III Period mahogany bowfront stick barometer
by Fraser & Son, London
Fraser Detail

In the late 18th century they got it right. This is, in our opinion, the perfect form of stick barometer-- its proportions and decoration are faultless. The complexity of the case construction and decoration indicate that the instrument very likely cost several times the amount to produce as its simpler brethren and was clearly intended for a client who could afford and wanted the best.

The trim and black mouldings are solid ebony, and the panel of crotch mahogany down the trunk is of the finest quality. The Roman lettering engraving on the silvered register plates is of the typical 18th century form. The very finely shaped scroll cornice, a style shared with Dollond, Rubergall, and others, is especially graceful with its low scrolls over complex pediment mouldings, and the urn-shaped cistern cover is a classic.


English mahogany stick barometer by George Adams of 60 Fleet Street, London.

Succeeding his father as Instrument Maker to His Majesty King George III in 1773, he was also later designated Optician to the Prince of Wales. Many attributes of this barometer show why he was considered one of the finest instrument makers of the 18th century. The quality of the timber, mouldings, and cabinetry in general are of the finest; touches such as the geared hygrometer, brass door catch, and beautifully engraved and annotated scales are typical of his products.


English Regency Period Satinwood
Wheel Barometer with Clock

This is a large and imposing instrument, made without any compromises in time or expense. The fine satinwood veneers are outlined with ebony and boxwood stringing, and the cornice is accented with ivory paterae. The engraving on the dial and ancillary plates is of the best quality of the period. Note the solar and lunar depictions and the engraved crest at the center of the fine dial.

All in working order, including the clock, which is a 30-hour fusée timepiece with verge and balance escapement by watchmaker William Terry of London, numbered 91.

The barometer is signed P. Barbon & Co., Fullwood Rents, London. Barbon practiced at this address from approximately 1810 to 1830, the peak years of the Regency period. The watchmaker William Terry is listed by Baillie as "early 19th century."

Circa 1820-30
48" High,
14" Wide

Barbon -barometer with clock


Admiral Fitzroy's Prize Medal Barometer
by Joseph Davis & Co., 163 Fenchurch Street, London, 1868-1870

This is one of the earliest of the Fitzroy type of mercury barometers, all of which were made after Admiral Fitzroy went to that great weather station in the sky in 1865. The top bears the gilded brass crest of the Royal coat of arms of England, and the paper register plates are inscribed Admiral Fitzroy's Prize Medal Barometer. A Registry of Design label for 1868 identifies the maker as Joseph Davis & Co., who started business at 163 Fenchurch Street in London in about 1868, then moved to the Royal Polytechnic Institution in 1870. This barometer may have been modeled after a prize-winning effort at the 1867 Universal Exposition in Paris. Research continues.

The case is of oak with a carved oak cresting, with figured ash or elm veneers above and below the printed-paper plates.

Prize Fitzroy

The register plates are of the earliest Fitzroy style also used on Davis' "Royal Polytechnic" barometers produced around the same time. The brass mounted storm bottle has a paper plate just below it describing the actions of the crystals and liquid, and a (restored) Fahrenheit thermometer. The very large mercury tube is original.

As is the case with most Fitzroy barometers, the relationship between the mercury tube and the register plates is in error, in this case by about .6 inch, and the barometer reads slightly high at sea level. This may be a deliberate "adjustment" introduced by the maker to allow a wider range of elevations for use of the instrument.

Circa 1868-1870
47" High, 10" Wide (base)


Mahogany Barometer by John Russell of Falkirk.

One of the best-known clock and watchmakers of his day, he was named Watchmaker to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in 1811. He also produced superb barometers. 
An early example of Russell's famous and distinctive stick barometers, this instrument has a typical arched glass door, high scrolled pediment, reeded tube cover with a Corinthian capital, and oval cistern cover. Checkered stringing outlines the mahogany case and door frame. The silvered brass plate is beautifully engraved with a variety of type styles for the weather indications. BAROMETER appears over the top of the tube, and the signature and place name are at the bottom of the plate. Circa 1770-1780.

Russell Dial 

Wilder Barometer

American Stick Barometer.

Turned solid cherry with an acorn finial, this instrument has a straight tube with a cast-iron cistern, a vernier operated by a wire through the top, and a mercury thermometer mounted on the engraved silvered brass plate. Signed C Wilder Peterborough NH it is complete, undamaged, and virtually untouched. Circa 1865.

Regency Stk

English Regency Period Door Stick barometer.

A very classic form, this mahogany stick barometer was made about 1825 and signed by P. Richardson, 48 Leadenhall Street, London. It has feather banding down the case, an architectural pediment, and a silvered brass register plate. The top of the tube and the scales are protected by a rectangular glass door, framed with mahogany banding. Replaced cistern cover. Circa 1820-30. 


Stick w/ hygrom

Mahogany stick barometer inscribed Malacrida & Co. fecit.

A notable feature of this fine London barometer is the hygrometer mounted above the register plate, framed in a panel of mahogany decorated with satinwood. The mahogany case's moulded edges are bordered with lines of boxwood and ebony stringing. The silvered brass register plate is nicely engraved with script and Roman lettering, and is protected by a framed glass door. 43" x 5" 
Circa 1802-1810

Marine Carved marine stick barometer with ivory plates.

The case is solid mahogany carved as a fluted column and serves as a base for a large boxed marine sympiesometer. The ivory register plates are engraved with two sets of scales and have two rack-and-pinion verniers that allow a three-point trend to be observed. Echoing the carved lobed base, the pediment is gadrooned and has a low peak. The finial, cistern cover, gimbal, and ring are all brass. Decorated marine barometers such as this were commonly used in yachts or homes rather than on commercial or military ships.
40" high. Circa 1860

Georgian Dial

Georgian dial barometer by J. Maver, London.

 An early form of what was to become the Sheraton Shell barometer, this instrument's dial is engraved with classic Roman lettering. The graceful case has fan inlays, checkered stringing outlining the perimeter, crossbanded sides, and narrow shoulders (below the pediment) that are typical of late Georgian barometers. Overall, it's a very high quality instrument. 39"x10"   Circa 1800-1810

Wilder Stk
American Cased Stick Barometer
by Charles Wilder.

Made in Peterborough, NH, about 1870, this instrument has its original grain painted finish that simulates rosewood. The mercury system has Wilder's characteristic two-chamber cast iron cistern that is vented through the side of the case, and not the iron stop-cock usually found in barometers by Simmons and Timby. The paper register plate carries Wilder's name and place. Circa 1870.

Spectacular Dutch inlaid mahogany contra-barometer, so named for one of its two mercury systems which uses a U-shaped tube with mercury down one side and around the bend, and colored oil back up the side with the register plate, essentially an expanded scale for easier reading of small movements. A second mercury tube runs down the center of the instrument, with a bulb cistern and two additional scales of measurement.

The large red spirit thermometer is graduated in Fahrenheit and Reaumur. The polished pewter register plates are profusely engraved and decorated. The maker is Solari & Co., Groningen, in the northern Netherlands. Contra-barometers, also known as bak-barometers (literally, barometer in a box, for the rectangular glass-fronted case), are found throughout the Low Countries from about 1740 onwards, but the Dutch used them more than any other country.

The thermometer notes record high and low temperatures in Paris, Amsterdam, and Greitz in Germany, from 1743 to 1798. Weather indications are naturally Dutch; "Orcaan" (hurricane), "Hevige Storm" (severe storm), "Storm", "Veel Reg. of Wind" (much rain and wind), "Regen of Wind" (rain or wind), "Veranderlyk" (changeable, or variable), "Goed Weer" (good weather), "Mooy Weer" (beautiful weather), "Bestendig" (settled), and "Heel Schoon" (perfect weather). The main weather scale, which one reads off the top of the red oil in the far right tube of the instrument, is confusingly a combination of English inches, from 28 to 31, divided into 36 divisions radiating upward in 20 divisions from about 29.7 inches (median barometric pressure at Amsterdam's latitude) to 31 inches, and downward from 29.7 to 28 in 16 divisions. A small movable pointer traverses this scale. Circa 1810-1830

Mid-19th Century American ship’s barometer
by Lowell & Senter, Portland, Maine

Lowell American MarineAmerican-made marine barometers are rare. Most 19th century American ships’ outfitters imported English barometers with the English makers’ or American sellers’ names on them, but this particular instrument is all American in origin.

The sharply tapered case is veneered with rosewood over poplar secondary wood, with some pine fittings behind the ivory register plates. Portland on the signature plate is spelled Poartland. There are two verniers, one each for Yesterday and Today, operated by the single set knob. While most marine barometers have a hanging ring mounted on a brass plate on the curved top of the case, this barometer uses a brass plate on the back with a hanging ring. The Fahrenheit mercury thermometer is also on an ivory plate, and the only temperature indication is freezing at 32 degrees. The thermometer in its case is completely removable from the barometer, unlike the integral fitted case more commonly seen.

Restorations include the hanging ring and the gimbal. The mercury system is a correct replacement. The original French polish finish has been polished and waxed.

Smart’s The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 lists the partnership of Abner Lowell and William Senter as practicing from 1846 to 1871 in Portland, selling watches, jewelry and nautical instruments. Lowell is listed until about 1872, then Senter and later his son are listed as practicing 1883. This instrument was made about 1850 to 1860, as indicated by the style of engraving and the use of the dual verniers, a feature that appeared primarily after 1850.

Circa 1850-1860
38.5 Inches high


Robert Fitzroy, son of Lord Charles, was born at Ampton Hall, Suffolk, in 1805 and entered the Navy at the age of 12. During his long career, he was for many years Captain of the HMS Beagle which achieved fame as a result of Charles Darwin's expeditions. He eventually rose to the rank of Admiral, was elected Member of Parliament for Durham in 1841, and appointed Governor of New Zealand in 1843.

At his retirement from active service in 1850, he turned his attention to the science of meteorology. Among his considerable accomplishments, he induced the Times to print weather information on a daily basis and the Board of Trade to supply many coastal villages with barometers. He designed a vastly improved marine barometer. In 1862 he published his Weather Book which summarized his extensive and immensely important work on meteorology.

To the barometer collector, he is most remembered for consolidating weather information and presenting his now classic Remarks, which distinguish the barometer carrying his name, that interpret the meaning of rising or falling mercury.

Admiral Fitzroy's Barometers were not designed by and were probably never seen by Admiral Fitzroy who took his own life in 1865 before the earliest known Fitzroys were made.

Barometers [SOLD] for Reference

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