“I had two early instruments which were ‘showing their age’ and needed rejuvenating without losing any of their original looks. The team at Vavasseur would appear to live and breathe pocket instruments and I would recommend these people as your first port of call if you are looking for sound advice and sensitive, knowledgeable repair or rejuvenation of your precious antique. These people will go the extra mile for you and, what is more, at very reasonable cost.”
J.B., Surrey, England
We undertake most aspects of conservation and restoration of aneroid barometers and other scientific instruments, including repairs to movements, though re-finishing in all its forms is a last resort.
We do not offer quotations over the phone as each case is different and the results dependent on your wishes. Examination of the item or a good set of images is required.
Patience, attention to detail and empathy are essential qualities when working with antique barometers and barographs. Foremost in our minds is the originality of any item and, when acquiring pieces, this begins with the initial selection and continues throughout our custodianship.
All the instruments we offer are comprehensively checked, and any detected faults corrected. Many of these objects are completely dismantled and this is a fascinating phase in conservation: seeing the hidden surfaces that have remained unseen for so many years, the craftsman’s marks, annotations and, sometimes, a date. The risks of breakage or loss of originality are ever present, and this is slow, deliberate, painstaking work.
A proper evaluation is now possible and a strategy for the item’s conservation devised. With great care and expertise, the original finish, colour and texture may be re-discovered. This is an objective exercise in retaining natural age patination whilst removing objectionable verdigris, atmospheric contamination and signs of neglect – a very fine art.
Once any mechanical faults have been corrected, the instrument is reassembled, and thoroughly tested to be sure it’s working as accurately and efficiently as is possible, given its age.
The result of the work undertaken should be a wonderful item, showing its observable age whilst showcasing the art and accomplishment of the maker.
This recently acquired, very rare double ships-wheel clock-barometer-compass compendium by Elkington & Co, c1882, is currently undertaking conservation in our workshop here in Shropshire. It comes complete with its original dark magenta silk-lined, Moroccan leather-covered travel case and will be added to the site shortly.