Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Twentieth Century Weather Foreteller Aneroid Barometer by Negretti & Zambra


For sale a scarce early Twentieth Century Weather Foreteller Aneroid Barometer by Negretti & Zambra.

This large wall mounted aneroid barometer is provided with a 7.5” diameter, silvered dial with wide barometric scale measuring 28 to 31 inches of pressure and a black arrowhead pointer. The scale is engraved with the products name, “weather foreteller” and “reduced to sea level” at the top of the scale arc.

The central scale is surrounded by a ¾”wide black painted bezel which supports a 4.5” diameter central weather forecaster. The forecaster was introduced by the firm in 1915 (Patent No: 6276/15 & logo to the central plate), as a separate instrument which could be purchased in various standalone forms or within a set which included a portable aneroid barometer, and it proved to be extremely popular. To develop their product, the weather forecaster was also applied as a fixed and integral part of this larger scale domestic weather foreteller. Using the direction of the wind and barometer reading it became possible for the user to be able to forecast changes in the weather for the coming 12 hours.

In this case, the forecaster is comprised of two concentric rings with the prevailing barometer trends on the lower ring and a smaller scale below to align it to current wind direction. With both of these aligned, the top plate which operates the brass set pointer on the dial is then adjusted to the current pressure reading. The setting of these positions will then reveal a weather reading in the cut-out section on the central plate. An ingenious way of bringing two separate products together to create a single harmonious instrument.

Negretti & Zambra’s patent weather forecasting products were a revelation in their time, the helpful yet somewhat confusing set of barometer weather indications produced by Admiral Fitzroy years earlier had helped to domesticate the barometer but unless some knowledge and regular discipline in reading the instrument was exerted, the barometer was only ever a current reading of barometric pressure.

With this simple yet highly effective system, the weather could be forecast with a good deal of accuracy in seconds and was highly sought after given the number of plastic pocket weather forecasters that remain on the market. Sadly, for Negretti, the advent of broadcasted weather reports effectively ruined the business of domestic barometer development but for those interested in meteorology, the product range remains just as useful as it did one hundred years ago.

This fine example of a Weather Foreteller is without doubt the rarest of them all. It is set within a robust, 11” diameter and 2.5” deep oak case with wall hanging loop to the top.  

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 1915

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