Barometer, made by Angelo Lovi

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in Edinburgh

Postcard of Barometer, made by Angelo Lovi.
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer, made by Angelo Lovi

This domestic stick barometer in mahogany was made by Angelo Lovi in Edinburgh around 1805. Immigrant Italians had been arriving in Britain in some numbers before the end of the 18th century. The particular trades which they brought with them were glass-blowing and carving and gilding (for picture frames), which extended naturally into looking-glass and barometer manufacture. Not only did they produce capillary tubing for barometers, as in the example here by Angelo Lovi, but they also produced specific gravity beads, used for measuring the alcohol content of liquids in the brewing and distilling trades.

The barometer has a glazed front door. It is signed over the silvered scale 'A. Lovi / Fecit'. The scale is marked from 27 inches to 31 inches at one inch intervals, subdivided to tenths of an inch,. It is marked at the top 'BAROMETER', and to the left 'Very Dry / Sett Fair / FAIR / Change / RAIN / Mh. Rain / Stormy'. There is a moveable vernier for reading off fractions of an inch. The rectangular cistern cover, with stringing and inset oval, has hinges to open, revealing that the bottle cistern is a blown integral part of the tube.

Angelo Lovi (c. 1730-1805) was born in Milan, where he lived until he was aged 42. He then emigrated to Rotterdam, arriving in the Essex port of Harwich in May 1772. He appeared in the Edinburgh street directories for 1804 only, where he was listed as a glassblower. However, his widow, Isabella, continued her late husband's business, taking out a patent in 1805 for 'aeronomical beads', a form of hydrostatic measurement, for use in bleaching, ascertaining the purity of foods such as milk, and most importantly, the measurement of alcohol in liquids.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-296-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1972.7
Date: Around 1805
Material: Mahogany, glass
What: domestic stick barometer in mahogany
Who: Angelo Lovi (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh
  • For Italian immigrants generally, see Sponza, L. Italian Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Realities and Images. Leicester, 1988. 
  • For Italian instrument makers, including Lovi, see Clarke, T.N., A.D. Morrison-Low and A.D.C. Simpson. Brass & Glass: Scientific Instrument Making Workshops in Scotland. Edinburgh, 1989, p 205. 
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