Learn more about Antique Barographs
What is a Barograph?
The barograph, like the barometer, is a scientific instrument which has entered the home as a decorative, as well as useful, piece of engineering, assisting us to continue our obsession with the weather.
The purpose of both instruments is to indicate the changing pressure of the atmosphere, thus helping to forecast probable changes in the weather. The barograph has an advantage over the barometer: it is able to record a continuous graph of air pressure changes which provides us with a fascinating visual record and often surprises with its peaks and troughs. A barograph is a barometer that is able to record a history of past air-pressure changes.
When and Where Were Barographs Made?
The oldest surviving barograph was made by Alexander Cumming in 1765 for George III. It is housed in Buckingham Palace, used mercury and is undoubtedly the most superior barograph to be found anywhere in the world. Only a handful of mercury barographs were made so a staggering £1,178 was paid for this barograph!
It wasn’t until c.1844, when Luchen Vidi invented the aneroid mechanism, that it became possible to produce a more practical barograph. Then, it was not until c.1870 that ‘self-recording aneroid barographs’ begun to appear commercially.
The clock movement (generally of eight-day duration) was contained within a cylindrical drum which revolves once a week. The aneroid movement is joined by a series of levers and linkages to a long arm containing the ink pen nib which is able to draw a line upon the paper chart fitted to the revolving drum. Generally, the whole mechanism sits upon a wooden base and is protected from dust and dirt by a glazed wooden cover.
There were many different styles of cases made for barographs. Many of the leading scientific instrument makers in England produced barographs of fine quality. Three of the most famous makers in England were Negretti & Zambra of London, Short& Mason of London and Chadburns of Liverpool, and in France, Richard Freres in Paris.
Barographs for Sale
A large number of barographs have undergone a great deal of alteration over the years and as such prices of barographs are influenced by condition, originality and authenticity. The best advice which applies to buying any type of barograph is to be vigilant and go to a reputable experienced dealer.
Olde Time Barographs for Sale
We supply a large range of Barographs here at Olde Time. We have a huge choice with each barograph more unique than the next.
Barograph Maintenance and Repair
In order to keep your antique barograph looking as good as new, here are some guidelines.
• Keep the barograph out of direct sunlight and avoid excessive hot or cold temperatures.
• If the barograph has to be moved, make sure that you move the pen arm away from the chart using the throw-off arm. Generally, for transit, it is a good idea to soak out any remaining ink within the nib so that it does not splash.
• When changing the chart or winding the clock mechanism, make sure that the pen arm is moved away from the chart.
• Handle the clock with care, it has brass gears so should not be dropped or roughly positioned on the gears.
• When replacing, it should be slid carefully over the centre spindle and allowed to engage with the teeth gently.
• It is important to keep the pen and nib clean.
• A weekly feather dusting or cleaning of the casework with a mild natural beeswax or crystalline wax will help to remove fingerprints and a build-up of dust from the case. Crystalline wax is a mixture of refined waxes, blended to a formula used by the British Museum to revive and protect valuable furniture, leather, paintings, metals, marble, etc. It is available to buy from Olde Time.
• Never use household cleaners or abrasives of any kind to clean any part of the barograph.
An antique barograph should only be cleaned and overhauled by a specialist restorer. Never attempt to clean or repair an antique barograph yourself.