Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Twentieth Century Winged Locomotive Wheel Desk Thermometer


For sale, an early Twentieth Century desk thermometer in the shape of a winged locomotive wheel.

This fine example is comprised of a locomotive wheel with a beautifully detailed wing at either side of the axle shaft. Both are presented on a base designed to reflect the contours of a railway track. The curved thermometer is positioned at the front of the wheel on a silvered scale plate engraved for both Fahrenheit and Reamur temperature measurements.

Sadly, the thermometer is completely unmarked so it is impossible to understand the exact reason for its manufacture but given the subject matter, it appears to be a celebration of the railway system. The winged wheel in mythology is historically used to denote transport, speed and progress and the same symbol has been used by Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, New Yorks’ Grand Central Station and also by the London General Omnibus Company, the latter’s symbol eventually becoming the basis for the London Underground symbol that still exists today.

Age is somewhat difficult to judge given the lack of markings but through the style of engraving, it is likely to have been manufactured at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Perhaps one of the most striking examples of a desk thermometer I have seen for some time.    

Circa 1920

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