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Barometer, made by James Veitch

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in Inchbonny, near Jedburgh

Postcard of Barometer, made by James Veitch.
000-180-000-968-C
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer, made by James Veitch

This domestic mercury stick barometer was 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.

The barometer has silvered registered plates marked with Veitch's name at the top of the scale. It also has an abundance of weather descriptions. It is marked on the left from 27 to 31 inches, and : 'Very / Set Fair / FAIR / Change / RAIN / Much Rain / Great' and on the right, which contains the vernier for reading fractions off the scale: 'Dry / Set Frost / FROST/ -able / SNOW / Much Snow / Storm'. The barometer has a boxwood and leather cistern, covered by a hollow hemispherical wooden cover. The adjustment screw may be a later addition.

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 Five years later, this trade was superseded by weights and measures work, when the old local Scottish standards were replaced by the Imperial system.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: 000-180-000-968-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.1984.240
Date: Around 1825
Material:
Dimensions:
What: Lighthouse fog signal
Subject:
Who:
Where:
Event:
Description: Air-raid siren type of electrically operated lighthouse fog signal
References:
  • 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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