Saunders & Cook Portsmouth, NH. An American, 20th Century gimbaled Ship Captain's barometer. 220098.

Currently, very little is known of the Portsmouth, NH firm Saunders & Cook . It appears that the were makers and retailers of Barometers in the 20th century. Several other examples are known.

This is a very nice example of a barometer designed for use in a marine setting. The barometer is designed to be portable and to split its use at home and on board a sailing ship. Barometers like these were usually owned by ship captains. They would bring them with them when they set out to sea. The instruments purpose was to forecast the coming weather. As a result, it was a useful tool. The brass gimbal was designed to be secured to the wall or the bulkhead of a boat. This way, when an owner of such an instrument brought theirs on board, they would have a place to secure it. The gimbaled mounting system was designed to maintain the instrument in a vertical position regardless of the roll, pitch and yawl of the boat sailing over the waves. The arm extends the barometer out from the wall so it has freedom to move. When not at sea, the barometer was designed to hang from the loop or ring at the top.

The main body of the cylindrical form case is mahogany. The glass barometer tube is enclosed in its length. The top and bottom are fitted with brass caps which have been polished. The brass knob located at the right side of the case controls the vernier located in the upper section behind the glass. The top of the case is fitted with a brass ring used for temporary hanging or storage.

Behind the curved piece of glass in the upper section is the instrument display. The engraved plates are brass and have been treated with a silver wash. The faceplate on the right is engraved with incremental scales in inches ranging from 26 to 31. It is this scale that the level of mercury in the main tube is read against. The changes in the level of mercury will forecast the weather. This is the purpose of this device. The faceplate on the left is engraved with the appropriate forecasts for the level mercury. These include “Stormy / Mch Rain / RAIN / Change / FAIR / Set Fair and Very Dry.” The maker’s name is engrave below. This reads, “Saunders / and / Cooke, / Portsmouth / New / Hampshire.”

The wall hanging instrument measures approximately 37 inches long and protrudes from the wall 10.5 inches mounted on the current gimbal.



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