RNLI marine barometer having 4¾” transfer printed and hand decorated vitreous glass dial, the periphery marked “Changeable” at 12 o’clock, barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 26 to 31, stations on the inch and divided to 20ths. The upper portion marked with basic forecasting instructions, “Barometer Falls for Warm, Wet, Or More Wind,” “Rises for Cold, Dry, Or Less Wind,” concentric to barometric scale, upper centre marked “Fisherman’s Aneroid Barometer.” The lower part “Issued by the Royal National Life Boat Institution, No 657” and signed by the maker “Dollond, London.” Blued steel pointer, gilt brass Index. All set beneath a heavy bevelled glass maintained within an oxidised brass bezel.
Conventional single 3” capsule driven movement tensioned on a C spring, marked “3982,” and correctly mounted on a solid wood spacer. Type one zinc 2” high drum form case with fixings at 12 and 6 o’clock. Calibration port to verso.
Condition: The subject of an extensive service and conservation. Tested and calibrated under laboratory conditions, see performance chart below. Excellent performance, accuracy within 1/10th” Hg across the range. The dial in very good undamaged condition, the markings clear and having good density. The glass replaced, the index setting knob working correctly. The zinc case in very original undamaged condition, showing signs of use at sea.
Comments: Two important things to note with this example of an RNLI Fishermans Marine Barometer. The first is that this instrument was “Issued” by the RNLI and not “As Issued,” which does make a difference to value and authenticity.
The second is that this was one of the very first barometers issued by the RNLI to masters and owners of fishing vessels at the subsidised rate of eleven shillings and sixpence, a third of the retail price. Early examples had a deeper zinc case, and the movements in very early examples were also mounted on a wood spacer.
Both Dollond and Negretti & Zambra manufactured these marine barometers which were issued from August 1882 onwards, and by November 1883 over 1,200 applications for the Fisherman’s Aneroid Barometer had been received. The RNLI then agreed to extend the same subsidised price to a number of masters and owners of coasters under 100 tons.
This RNLI marine barometer has a different movement to later instruments, and represents a standard Dollond barometer movement of the time, hence its number of “3982.”
A good example of the earliest recorded RNLI marine barometers, this is certainly a collector’s piece.
Dimensions: 6” diameter x 2½” deep
Stock No: BA1852