Whyte & Co. 144 Broomielaw Glasgow, Scotland. Marine barometer.

This is a wonderful gimbal marine barometer made circa 1880. The richly grained rosewood case features a shaped column that is capped in brass on the bottom and wooden moldings at the top. This instrument measures approximately 37.5 inches long. The rectangular shaped box that is fitted in the center measures approximately 13.25 inches long and 2.25 inches wide. The front of it is fitted with clear glass. Inside this box one will find an inlaid brass plate that has been engraved and finished in a silver wash. The lower section reads, “Improved Sympiesometer.”

The Sympiesometer was invented by Alexander Adie (1774 – 1858). He was a Scottish specialist in barometers and optics. Adie became the eminent maker of both marine and domestic barometers. His invention of the Sympiesometer was actually a barometer that used oils and hydrogen gas instead of mercury. This enabled the physical size of the instrument to be greatly reduced and is considered more accurate.

The fancy Sympiesometer tube is located to the right of the thermometer inside the rectangular box. An adjustable engraved brass scale is located to the right. This features a scale that is graduated from 27 to 31 and has the following categories: Rain, Change and Fair. To the left side of this space is an inlaid Fahrenheit thermometer that is graded from 25 to 115 degrees. Fixed on a metal scale is a wheel that includes a small moveable dial reading from 27 to 31. Above the box is a bowed facing that is fitted with two receptacles that when actuated with a key, will adjust the verniers in the upper section. The upper box is carefully lined. It features two separate scales and their corresponding verniers. The on on the left is marked “10 a.m. Yesterday.” The one to the right is marked, “10 a.m. Today.” These scales range from 26.5 to 31 which corresponds to the level of mercury in the main tube. This level can be viewed in the area between the verniers.

The top box or window features the maker’s name and working location. The top of the case is decorated with moldings. All of this is mounted on a polished brass gimbal ring and wall bracket.

This style of barometer is designed to be portable. Its use was mostly likely on a sailing ship where the gimbal mounting system would maintain the instrument at vertical.

White & Co. is a listed firm. They were at work in 1875 through 1888 in Glasgow. They were sellers of chronometers and nautical instruments.

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