Barometer (detail)

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probably made in London

Postcard of Barometer (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer (detail)

John Newman was one of the leading barometer makers of the 19th century, and made the Royal Society (of London's) standard barometer in 1822, besides standard and portable barometers for the Ross Antarctic expedition. This is a detail of the standard barometer made for the Royal Society of Edinburgh, for which Newman was paid £20.5.0 in 1832. However, it was subsequently found to be faulty, which may explain its current incompleteness.

The barometer is made of brass, with the glass tube supported by two rectangular-section brass pillars. At the top of each is a silvered scale and between them a vernier, marked 'J. Newman / Regent St. / LONDON'. The detail shows the scales. The barometer is incomplete, and empty of mercury.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh was founded in 1783, and over the years a number of instruments were acquired for the use of its Fellows. The glaciologist, James David Forbes, wrote to Sir John Robison in 1831 about having a standard barometer and thermometer in 1831, and organised it, with specifications to be made by Newman. However, Forbes was less than happy with the final result.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-188-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 1832
  • C.D. Waterston, Collections in Context: the Museum of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Inception of a national Museum for Scotland (Edinburgh, 1997), p 193 
  • For Newman, see N. Goodison, English Barometers 1680-1860 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1977), p 344; H.A.L. Dawes, 'John Frederick Newman 1784-1860', Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society No 50 (1996), pp 11-4; Brian Gee, 'John Newman: a Second Look' ib 
  • J.D. Forbes, 'Report upon the Recent Progress and Present State of Meteorology', British Association Report 1832 (London, 1833), pp 225-6 
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