Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Victorian Dickinsons Anemometer by Joseph Casartelli Manchester


For sale, a Victorian Dickinson’s Anemometer No: 466 by Joseph Casartelli of Manchester.

This instrument was devised in the mid-Nineteeth Century by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Mines, Joseph Dickinson, FGS, who throughout his long forty one year career, paid particularly close attention to clean airflow through the mines to ensure as healthy a working environment for the miners as possible. Numerous references to his studies of different types of anemometers are present in professional archives and he later focussed on the study of self recording anemometer and manometers in an attempt to avoid the reliance on workers in providing consistently accurate data.

By the tme of his invention, the plate anemometer was not an entirely new concept but with a more accurately calibrated quadrant, a bubble level and counterbalance to the plate, his invention represented a large improvement to the design.

It is described as follows in the catalogues of Joseph Casartelli:

“This instrument, introduced by Mr Joseph Dickinson about 1850, determines the velocity of an air current from the deflection it causes to a swinging flap. The flap consists of a framed plate of mica, carried along its top edge between centres and fitted with a counterpoise, so that even a slight pressure on its surface shall cause an appreciable deflection. The centres are held in a square frame provided with a quadrant so graduated that the velocity of the air is indicated in feet per minute by the readin opposite the flap; a small spirit level is also attached to the framing to insure that it is vertical while an observation is being made. Like most other anemometers, it is graduated experimentally by attaching it to a long arm which is swept round horizontally at different speeds by mechanism.”

Dickinson must have had a reasonably close relationship with the joseph Casartelli as he seemingly provided him with the sole rights in the construction and sale of his invention.

Jospeh Casartelli was the son of Italian immigrant Louis Anthony Casartelli who like many others of his generation, travelled from the Northern Como region of Italy to settle as barometer makers in the United Kingdom. Names such as Casella, Negretti, Zambra, Ronchetti, Tagliabue & Cetti appear on barometers from the Nineteenth Century and most gained at least modest fame during their lifetimes. Louis Casartelli’s chosen destination was Manchester and alongside his cousin, Charles Joshua Ronchetti the pair worked as jobbing instrument makers before Casartelli moved to Liverpool to set up on his own account.

In 1834, Joseph and his Uncle Anthony followed Louis to Liverpool and joined the business eventually taking sole control of it following Louis retirement and subsequent move back to Italy in 1845. By the turn of the 1850’s, Joshua had set up his own business, married his relaton Jane Henrietta Ronchetti and a move to Manchester followed after Jane’s brothers John Baptist & Joshua Ronchetti decided to sell their instrument making business at 43 Market Street in favour of other opportunities. Evidently a skilled craftsman, Casartelli manufactured and retailed a wide range of instruments and he was elected a member of The Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society in 1858. It was during these early years of trading in Manchester that Dickinson provided the sole rights to Casartelli for manufacturing his anemometer.

The company prospered for the remainder of the century where in 1896 it was renamed to J Casartelli & Son four years before the founder Joseph’s death in 1900. His son maintained it until 1927.

Circa 1855

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