Reynolds & Son 32 Crutched Friars, London. A marine gimbal mounted barometer with Sympiesometer.

The firm Reynolds & Son is listed at 32 Crutched Friars, London during the years of 1881 – 1899. This information can be found in Edwin Banfield’s book, “Barometer Makers and Retailers 1660 – 1900.”

This is a wonderful marine barometer made circa 1885. The mahogany case features an ornately turned and carved column. This instrument measures approximately 39 inches long and protrudes from the wall 8.5 inches mounted on the current gimbal. The bottom of the case is fitted with a decorative brass cap. Above this is a nicely executed carving. The rectangular box measures 14.25 inches long and 2.75 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 silvered. The lower section reads, “Improved Sympiesometer.” Just above this is the brass ring for the gimbal mounting system. Two bone knobs accurate the verniers located in the upper section behind the glass. The top of the case is fitted with a decorative carved wooden molding.

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 size 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 on the right. It is graduated from 27 to 31 and includes the following titles: Rain, Change and Fair. To the left side of this space is an inlaid Fahrenheit thermometer that is graded from Zero to 130 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 in ivory. 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. Also engraved in the lower section is the claim, “Improved Tube. “

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. This mount is wonderfully formed. It features a dolphin in the decorative casting.

The Crutch Fiars is located in the city of London, near Tower Hill. It is near the Tower of London by the River Thames.


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