A very interesting 1st quality large gilt and lacquered brass pocket barometer altimeter by Ross, London c1909, owned by Kate Fleming, grandmother of Ian Fleming
Pocket barometer having 2½” silvered and struck twin-scale dial, the outer crown driven altitude scale with a range from 0–5,000ft, the inner calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 26–31, the upper portion marked “Compensated,” the lower portion with the maker’s name “Ross, London.” Fine blued steel pointer set beneath a heavy bevelled glass. Conventional 1st quality lacquered brass compensated 1¼” capsule-driven movement marked with date “3/5/09,” contained within a barrel-form ribbed case having engine-turned top ring. Case extension with bow and crown adjustment to altitude. Barometer compensation port and screw set to verso at 8 o’clock.
The whole contained within its fine burgundy moroccan leather and pigskin over wood case with imperial purple silk and velvet lining, fine tooled rims. Snap closure on a button release. The lid gilt embossed with the initials “K.F.” and “Joyce Grove,” the family home of Ian Fleming’s grandparents.
The pocket barometer retaining a good proportion of its original gilt and lacquer finish, minor losses with some marks, the dial clean with slight shadow between 27 and 28 inches, the bevelled glass with minor scratches. The leather case the subject of extensive restoration for which a handmade facsimile hinge was fabricated, some timber structure replaced, the sides to the lid recovered and silk lining to lid replaced. As usual, here only traditional methods and materials including adhesives were used. Some losses and wear generally.
This instrument represents the very highest standard of workmanship and design within its generic type. Interestingly, it is fitted with particularly heavy glass, a very unusual feature and probably supplied to special order. Its connection to Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, undoubtedly adds substantially to its collectability.
A very attractive instrument in much above average condition. Serviced, calibrated and tested to full service deflection. the pocket barometer functions well with stepless progression and sensitivity, the rotating bezel turning smoothly.
Very much a collector’s item with a super history.
Joyce Grove was bought by Robert Fleming, founder of Fleming’s Bank, in 1903 and was home to Ian Fleming, his mother and brothers after his father died in 1917. Ian played golf with his grandmother Kate at Huntercombe, a nearby exclusive golf club. See The Country Homes of Ian Fleming for more information.
Dimensions: 4" diameter x 1¼" deep
Stock No: PB0794