• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7604

    Important Clocks and Marine Chronometers

    1 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 44

    A Regency mahogany and ebony strung bow-fronted stick barometer


    Price Realised  


    A Regency mahogany and ebony strung bow-fronted stick barometer
    Dollond, London. Circa 1810
    The case with step moulded pediment, horn Vernier setting key to the trunk, the urn-shaped cistern cover with ivory float and flanked by ebony inlaid canted angles, bowed glass to engraved silvered register plate signed DOLLOND/London with thermometer and Vernier scale
    39½ in. (100 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766


    E. Banfield, Barometer Makers and Retailers, Trowbridge, 1991
    N. Goodison, English Barometers and Their Makers 1680-1860, Woodbridge, 1977

    At the age of 21 Peter Dollond set up as an optician in Vine Street, Spitalfields. He later went on to become one of the most eminent optical instrument makers of the late 18th Century and was appointed optician to King George III and the Duke of York. Among his workers was Jesse Ramsden who was said to make scales for Dollond and who in 1766 became his brother-in-law. In 1799 Dollond became Master of the Spectacle-makers Company.
    Atmospheric pressure is measured by the height of the mercury column above the surface of the mercury in the cistern. As the barometer scales are fixed, the level of the mercury in the cistern needs to be zeroed before an accurate reading can be taken. The method commonly used on domestic barometers is attributed to Ramsden and incorporates a float resting on the surface of the mercury and connected to an ivory gauge screwed into the cistern. The lower cistern screw is turned to adjust the height of the mercury to the neutral point from which the register plates were calculated. When this point has been reached a correct reading can be taken.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.