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probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Barometer.
© National Museums Scotland


This pocket-sized special barometer without mercury, also known as a sympiesometer, was made around 1850, probably by Alexander Adie & Son of Edinburgh. It was retailed in London by Adie's youngest son Patrick (1821-86).

Adie's sympiesometer is a glass tube filled with coloured almond oil with a gas bulb filled with hydrogen at the top. A thermometer registers the temperature and the sliding brass scale of pressures slides against a fixed scale of temperatures.

Alexander Adie patented his design of a special barometer in 1818. It was more portable than a mercury barometer and could be used at sea or for measuring the height of mountains: air pressure decreases by height at a known constant.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-816-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1984.38
Date: Around 1850
c. 1850
Material: Wooden case. Inscription: PATENT / Adie & Son / EDINBURGH / No 3262; ADIE / STRAND / LONDON
Dimensions: 45 mm x 20 mm x 330 mm
What: Barometer / case
Subject: 10. METEOROLOGY (Departmental Classification)
Who: Adie and Son (Inscribed on the barometer)
Alexander Adie and Son, Edinburgh (Maker)
Patrick Adie, Strand, London (Retailer)
Where: England, London
England, London (Strand)
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Barometer consisting of a pocket sized sympiesometer with a mercury thermometer, contained in a wooden carrying case, probably by Alexander Adie and Son, Edinburgh, c. 1850
  • 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. p 37, 58 
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