Jason Clarke Antiques

Large Early Victorian Wall Thermometer by Mason of Essex Bridge Dublin


For sale, a large early Victorian wall thermometer by Mason of Essex Bridge Dublin.

Set upon a beautiful deep reddish-brown mahogany, 16” back plate with simple chamfered edge and brass hanging plates to the top and bottom. This unusual thermometer has an engraved zinc scale plate with both Fahrenheit and Reamur readings either side and temperature indications at relevant points. The top is engraved to the important Irish maker, Mason of Essex Bridge, Dublin.

The spirit thermometer is a joy to behold with deep red spirt still retaining good colour and an unusually large lozenge shaped thermometer bulb measuring 3.5” high and 1.5” across. Perhaps one of the largest I have seen from this period.   

The Mason family business was, according to contemporary advertising, established in 1780. Seacombe Mason (the first) was apprenticed to the London maker, John Margas who had been trained alongside the famous maker Francis Watkins under Nathaniel Adams in London. Watkins would go on to acquire Adam’s London business whilst Margas seems to have moved to Dublin in the late 1750’s.

Margas was bankrupt by the end of the 1760’s and so it took Mason some time to establish his independence at premises at Arran Quay in Dublin, however the business existed at this premises until his death in 1802 and was subsequently run by his sons, Thomas & Jonathan until 1817 during which time, the company moved to new premises on Essex Bridge.

It appears that Jonathan Mason may have moved to Limerick by this point, leaving Thomas to continue to run the Dublin firm. Under his stewardship, the company earned itself a Royal Appointment to The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland which is likely to have been Lord Wellington’s brother Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley.

From company advertising, the appointment was maintained beyond both Wellesley’s and Thomas Mason’s respective tenures. Thomas’s son Seacombe (the second) took over the business in 1838 and continued to use the Royal Appointment despite numerous Earls and Viscounts assuming the role throughout this period.

Seacombe maintained the business for the majority of the remaining century with some evidence pointing to the fact that it later became Mason and Son. Beyond this point, details become slightly unclear but it is heartening to discover that the company continues to thrive to this day as Mason Technologies and continues to supply scientific equipment to industry. It also retains steady directorship from the eight generation of the family.

Circa 1850   

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