Art Deco Bakelite Desk Thermometer by Negretti & Zambra
An Art Deco period yellow bakelite desk thermometer by Negretti & Zambra.
The base is constructed of numerous graduating turned Bakelite discs of both yellow and faux tortoise shell colouring with a Bakelite column which has a bone engraved plate affixed. The plate showing Fahrenheit readings and the maker’s name, “Negretti & Zambra, London” engraved to the top with a blue spirit thermometer held to the plate by three brass clasps.
Bakelite was developed in 1907 by the Belgian-American chemist, Leo Baekeland in New York. It gained monumental popularity in the early part of the Twentieth Century and Negretti & Zambra were quick to take advantage of the new material. Most of the examples of the company’s desk thermometers seen today are of wood but the company clearly saw an opportunity to make ‘fashionable’ household scientific pieces for their retail stores. This is an unusual and stylish version of their standard.
Negretti & Zambra were a leading name in the production of meteorological and scientific instruments and have a company history dating back to 1850. Throughout their long and esteemed history they exhibited at British industrial fairs throughout and became makers to both Queen Victoria and Edward VII. Owing to changes in the business, the firm ceased the public retailing of scientific instruments sometime around the late 1960’s and continued with a focus on the aviation industry in numerous guises until its eventual liquidation in the year 2000. A sad end to a hundred and fifty years of quality manufacturing.