Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Twentieth Century Submarine Pattern Aneroid Barometer by Negretti & Zambra


For sale, a very rare submarine pattern aneroid barometer by Negretti & Zambra.

This large and scarce pattern is comprised of a copper case with brass bezel, substantial bevelled glass dial cover and brass mounting ring to the rear.

The generous eight inch silvered dial is engraved for 22 to 30 inches of barometric pressure around the outer circumference and 750 to 1030 Millibars to the inner side. It is marked as compensated to the centre and below is the maker’s name, Negretti & Zambra, London with the serial number 17866.

It is completed with a large blue steel pointer with crescent moon end and a brass set hand operated by a knurled brass adjuster to the centre.

Owing to its intended use, the dial also has a stop bar fitted to each end of the scale to avoid damage to the barometer at depths or heights beyond the instrument’s manufactured range.

The age of the barometer is quite obviously fixed to the early part of the Twentieth Century partly owing to the use of Millibars which started to become a generally accepted measurement beyond 1900 but perhaps more obvious is the fact that the British Navy really didn’t have a submarine fleet until that date. It was in that year that five submarines were ordered by the Navy and by World War I, the fleet numbered 62 active submarines. This arm of The Royal Navy also played a crucial role during World War II and so it is likely that this piece was commissioned by the Admiralty and manufactured as part of Negretti & Zambra’s support of the war effort.

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.

Circa 1940

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