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Probably made in Glasgow

Postcard of Barometer.
© National Museums Scotland


This barometer was made just before 1800, probably by John Gardner, a scientific instrument maker based in Glasgow. Gardner was the founder of a family firm which became prolific makers of barometers during the 19th century.

The stick barometer is made from harewood and tulipwood with ivory register plates and an inset marquetry motif. The mercury in the glass tube moves up or down against the scale, according to variations in atmospheric pressure.

Instruments such as these reflect the widespread interest in the keeping of weather records in the late 18th century. The inlaid woodwork also shows that by this date the barometer had become accepted as a piece of furniture.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-752-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1980.69
Date: Before 1800
Material: Harewood, tulipwood, ivory register plates, inset marquetry motif. Inscription: J. Gardner / Glasgow fecit ; Serene / Set Fair / FAIR / Change. / RAIN / Mh Rain / Stormy
Dimensions: 80 mm x 40 mm x 980 mm
What: Barometer, concertina cistern stick
Subject: 10. METEOROLOGY (Departmental Classification)
Who: J. Gardner, Glasgow (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Lanarkshire, Glasgow
Description: Concertina cistern stick barometer made from harewood and tulipwood with ivory register plates and an inset marquetry motif, by John Gardner, Glasgow, before 1800
  • Bryden, D.J. Scottish Scientific Instrument Makers 1660-1900. Edinburgh, 1972 pp 48-9 
  • Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C. Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1989. pp 164, 171 
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