Barometer (detail), made by Balthazar Knie

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made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Barometer (detail), made by Balthazar Knie.
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer (detail), made by Balthazar Knie

This photograph shows a close up of the signature on a barometer made by Balthazar Knie around 1800. The signature on the register plate reads: 'KNIE / Fecit'.

Edinburgh's most prolific and influential mid-18th century specialist barometer maker was Balthazar Knie (c. 1738-1817). He was born in Bohemia, but then emigrated to Cork, arriving at Irvine on the Ayrshire coast in 1774. He produced a variety of barometer designs, possibly tailored to meet the need for attractive symmetrical furniture, especially in a city such as Edinburgh where the New Town was being constructed along restrained Classical lines from 1768 onwards and providing opportunities for those supplying a consumers' luxury market.

With the growth of the consumer society, amongst other goods which permeated down the social scale was furniture. An increasing demand for items at the luxury end of the market which had hitherto been the preserve of the aristocracy, led to an increase in the variety and price range of these goods. A number of Knie straight-tubed barometers are to be found in the substantial houses outside Edinburgh: that at Traquair is dated 1778, and that at Hopetoun House has a surviving manuscript account showing that it cost £2 11s 6d in 1788.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-955-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  
Date: Around 1800
  • Bryden, D.J. Balthazar Knie, a provincial barometer maker. Connoisseur 179 (1972), pp 172-5. 
  • Goodison, N. English barometers 1680-1860. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1977, pp 170-175. 
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