E. Banfield, Barometers, Stick or Cistern Tube, Trowbridge, 1985
N. Goodison, English Barometers and Their Makers 1680-1860, Woodbridge, 1977
Francis Watkins (c.1723-1784) was one of the leading instrument makers in England during the second half of the 18th Century. He occupied premises initially at 415 Charing Cross and then 5 Charing Cross. In 1763 he took into partnership his apprentice Addison Smith, until 1764. Much of Watkins' fame derives from his angle barometers with 'Perpetual regulation of Time'. Goodison (p.269) describes the features of the paper dial thus: 'Besides tables giving the dates of Easter from 1753 until 1852, the movable feasts and the dates of the Kings of England, these Perpetual Calendars incorporate a series of movable dials which can be set by keys operating through gear work and which show the time of high water at London Bridge, the times of sunrise and sunset, the length of the day, the days of the month, the zodiacal signs etc.' He suggests these may have been inspired by Britain's adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. A Watkins and Smith barometer of very closely related design to the present example, now in the Science Museum, London, is illustrated in Goodison (p.278) and Banfield (p.150). A similar example was sold Sotheby's, New York, 23 October 1998, lot 338 and another at Christie's London, 7 July 1988, lot 47.