Barometer (detail)

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probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Barometer (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer (detail)

This is a detail of the glass tube of a special barometer without mercury, also known as a sympiesometer. The sympiesometer was patented by the Edinburgh instrument maker Alexander Adie (1775-1858) in 1818. This example was produced by the same firm, Adie & Son, probably around 1880. It still contains its original tube which is numbered 2310, as is the instrument.

This detail shows the number '2310' scratched into the glass tube.

Instruments were not at this time mass-produced in the way that, for example, large pieces of machinery could be. They were made in small batches, and each part was then crafted to fit exactly. Thus parts for a particular instrument had to be numbered, to prevent confusion during assembly. It is unusual for a glass part to have survived so long.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-209-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.1984.39
Date: Around 1880
c. 1880
Material: Wood, brass. Inscription: No 2310 / PATENT / Adie & Son / Edinburgh
Dimensions: 75 mm x 40 mm x 630 mm
What: Sympiesometer
Subject: 10. METEOROLOGY (Departmental Classification)
Who: Adie and Son (Inscribed on the barometer)
Adie and Son, Edinburgh (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Sympiesometer consisting of a barometer with a mercury thermometer, contained in a protective plain wooden glazed frame, signed by Adie and Son of Edinburgh, c. 1880
  • A. Adie,'Description of the Patent Sympiesometer, or New Air Barometer', Edinburgh Philosophical Journal 1 (1819), pp 54-60; T.N. Clarke et al., Brass & Glass: Scientific Instrument Making Workshops in Scotland (Edinburgh 1989), pp 35-7 
  • W.E.K. Middleton, The History of the Barometer (Baltimore, 1964), pp 378-81 
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