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Mid-Victorian Fisherman's RNLI Aneroid Barometer by Negretti & Zambra - No 373


A mid-Victorian Fisherman’s Aneroid Barometer by Negretti & Zambra of London and issued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – No. 373.

Both Negretti & Zambra & Dollond were the only suppliers deemed of sufficient quality and standards to produce this design and these barometers were used on fishing vessels towards the end of the century.

Negretti & Zambra were leading names in the production of meteorological and scientific instruments with a company history dating back to the mid nineteenth century. They exhibited at British industrial fairs throughout and became makers to both Queen Victoria and Edward VII.

As early as 1864, Negretti & Zambra were advertising “The Fisherman’s & Life Boat Station Barometer”, their price list states, “as made by Negretti & Zambra especially for the Board of Trade and Royal Life Boat Institution, to be fixed at all the principal sea ports, fishing and life boat stations”. At five pounds and five shillings these were extraordinarily expensive scientific instruments for the period and the skill in their manufacture remains evident due to their continued accuracy.

All examples by either supplier are manufactured with a zinc metal casing and a ceramic dial enclosed behind a brass bezel with thick glass insert.

Difficult to find in this condition as most suffer from cracks and breakages to the ceramic dial and glass, this is a great example of an aneroid barometer from one of the highest quality makers of scientific instruments during the nineteenth century. It has one of the lowest serial numbers I have seen on one of these barometers so is likely to be a very early example.

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