A scarce, very early Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners Royal Benevolent Society marine aneroid barometer, No 275, by Dollond, London, c1882
Marine barometer with 5” vitreous enamel transfer-decorated dial, the upper portion having barometric scale from 28-31 inches of mercury, annotated “Falls for Warm, Wet or More Wind,” “Changeable,” “Rises for Cold, Dry or Less Wind,” “Marine Aneroid Barometer Made by Dollond, London,” the centre with serial “No. 275,” the lower portion marked “Lent by The Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society” and the Society’s address, “Hibernia Chambers, London Bridge.” Blued-steel pointer set beneath bevelled glass with gilded telltale to centre, under a heavy lacquered brass bezel. Substantial well-engineered single 3” capsule driven aneroid movement constructed in steel and lacquered brass tensioned on a C spring.
The whole contained within its original, good quality, turned oak case with zinc alloy lining, compensation port to rear set at 3 o’clock, bulkhead mounting plates at 12 and 6 o’clock. Original brass plaque at 6 o’clock bearing the legend “The Gift of Delta.”
Condition generally is excellent and very original. It should be noted that, due to shrinkage of the oak case, it has been necessary to re-position the dial and bezel. The movement, having been the subject of a complete overhaul, is working well with good sensitivity and progression.
Comments: The most unusual of these instruments we have seen, this one records the second address to which the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society was associated. The dial, very unusually, is wholly monochrome – all others noted have colour-highlighted SFMS flag logograms; the addition of the annotation “Lent by” is similarily unusual. In addition, this instrument has a bespoke and certainly original plate affixed at the bottom simply bearing the legend “The Gift of Delta.”
This marine barometer is an extremely unusual and historically significant piece with a very low issue number. The Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners’ Society’s website records that in 1882, the Society received donations of these aneroid barometers from the manufacturer, Dollond, and from other entities, to be presented as rewards or given on loan to fishermen and fishing stations – this is one of the very first of these barometers…
From the Society’s Annual Report 1882/3 – “In extension of the Society’s efforts as the National Fishermen and Mariners’ Aid Society, the Committee, at the close of the past year 1882, gratefully accepted from a philanthropic donor, ‘Delta’ as especially intended ‘to help fishermen to save their own lives, and encourage them in saving the lives of others,’ the valuable gift of one hundred Marine Aneroid Barometers, manufactured by Dollond – subsequently added to by gifts of like instruments from the Worshipful Company of Salters and others – through the issue of which, by presentation as rewards, or on loan, to fishermen and fishing stations, the Committee have already reason to anticipate the most beneficial results.”
It is certain that very few of these survive as we have been unable to trace any similar examples of such loaned barometers.
Dimensions: 7" diameter x 2½” deep
Stock No: BA0666
Price: Vavasseur Archive - not currently for sale