W. Atkin, Newcastle, England. A gimbaled marine barometer.

William Atkin can be found in the Newcastle Journal listed as a “Mathematical Instrument Maker” in March of 1856. Newcastle is a town located on the the River Tyne approximately 6 miles from the North Sea. It is in the northeast England. It was at one time a major ship building center.

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 in a vertical position while the ship sways in the seas. The case wood is rosewood and exhibits excellent narrow proportions. The brass container at the bottom of the instrument conceals the cistern. The waist or middle section features a thermometer and is nicely displayed below the gimbal connection or collar. The rectangular frame is trimmed with a wooden molding. The silvered thermometer dial has engraved scales with markings for both Fahrenheit and Reamur. At the top of the case is an arched dial or face. The lunette is engraved “W. Atkin / NEWCASTLE.” Below this is the scale for measuring the changes in the level of mercury. The numerical scale starts at 26 inches and rises to a total of 31 inches. The level of mercury in the tube is measured against this. An adjustable vernier is positioned on this scale. It is adjustable by turning the round knob below the scale. On the left side are the categories. These include the following: “Stormy, M Rain, RAIN, Change, FAIR, Set Fair, Very Dry.”

This instrument measures approximately 38 inches long and was made circa 1855.


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