Barometer (detail), made by James Veitch

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in Inchbonny, near Jedburgh

Postcard of Barometer (detail), made by James Veitch.
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer (detail), made by James Veitch

This photograph shows a detail of the signature on a domestic mercury stick barometer made by James Veitch in Inchbonny, near Jedburgh around 1825. Despite being far from centres of population, and thus from a ready supply of customers, to say nothing of the difficulties in acquiring the metals and tools necessary to construct instruments, there have always been 'ingenious mechanics' in remote part of Scotland. James Veitch of Inchbonny (1771-1838), near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, is just such an example.

This barometer which has an abundance of weather descriptions has his name at the top of the scale. The signature on the top of the silvered register plate reads: 'JAMES VEITCH INCHBONNY'.

James Veitch set up in business initially as a ploughwright. However, his passion for astronomy led him to making telescopes, at first only for himself and like-minded friends. One of these was David Brewster (1781-1868), later to become an eminent figure in the Scottish, and later, European scientific community. Brewster brought his old friend and mentor many commissions for telescopes, and by 1821, Veitch had almost abandoned ploughmaking for instruments. Five years later, this trade was superseded by weights and measures work, when the old local Scottish standards were replaced by the Imperial system.

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Online ID: 000-180-000-969-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 1825
  • For domestic barometers, see Goodison, N. English barometers 1680-1860. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1977. 
  • For James Veitch, see Clarke, T.N., A.D. Morrison-Low and A.D.C. Simpson. Brass & Glass: Scientific Instrument Making Workshops in Scotland. Edinburgh, 1989, pp 16-24. 
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