Barometer, made by James Crichton

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in Glasgow

Postcard of Barometer, made by James Crichton.
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer, made by James Crichton

This domestic mahogany stick barometer was made by one of the more important instrument makers in Glasgow at the start of the 19th century. James Crichton (fl. 1785-1835) made apparatus for John Anderson (1726-96), the professor of natural philosophy (physics) at Glasgow University. Anderson bequeathed all his property, including his lecturing equipment, towards the establishment of a new foundation, the Andersonnian Institution, which late became the University of Strathclyde.

The barometer has an ivory register plates stamped: 'CRICHTON // GLASGOW'. It is marked on either side from 27 to 31 inches, divided into tenths of an inch, with twin verniers (to read off fractions of an inch). There is a boxwood and leather cistern, with a brass adjustment screw. This is covered by a moulded rectangular cistern cover which unscrews for access at the side.

Crichton was well-known for his thermometers, four of which were owned by the Parisian chemist Lavoisier; another is in the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. Crichton also made a balance for James Watt, and was involved in the making of Imperial standards to test the local weights and measures in Glasgow and the County of Lanarkshire in 1826.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-970-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.1985.110
Date: Around 1820
Material: Mahogany, ivory. Inscription: CRICHTON / GLASGOW; 40; Mr Grant, 94 Nelson St
Dimensions: 975 mm x 70 mm
What: Barometer
Subject: 10. METEOROLOGY (Departmental Classification)
Who: Crichton (Inscribed on the barometer)
Mr Grant (Inscribed on the barometer)
Where: Scotland, Lanarkshire, Glasgow
Description: Mahogany stick barometer with ivory register plates and twin verniers
  • For domestic barometers, see Goodison, N. English barometers 1680-1860. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1977. 
  • [Campbell, A.] Catalogue of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in the University of Strathclyde. Glasgow, 1980. 
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