An extremely unusual large lacquered brass aneroid table barometer by E.J. Dent, Paris, No 499, c1848, with later movement c1870

Rare Large Table Barometer by EJ Dent No 499 c1848 – SOLD

Aneroid barometer having 6½” silvered and engraved dial, the barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 26 – 31, stations on the inch and further divided to 20ths. The upper part with standard meteorological terms, the lower part signed “E.J. Dent, Paris,” “Aneroid Barometer” and serial no. “449.” Blued steel pointer and associated pierced index.

With conventional 2½” capsule driven movement tensioned on a C spring, all contained within a stepped spun case. The whole maintained within a solid light oak table top case by a cross brace and securing knob of half round form, and raised on a plinth with moulded borders. The base with twin table fixings. The verso with inspection/access door, lock and key.

Condition: The subject of a full service, conservation and calibration under laboratory conditions, see performance chart. The dial with some minor marks and areas of light shading, otherwise crisp and clear to read, the movement functioning well, showing good sensitivity and progression. The movement replaced with a slightly later one. The lacquered brass case with much original colour. The oak case with excellent colour, small area of damage to edge of door, minor marks and signs of age.

Comments: At first sight, I was not prepared for the size of the dial. This is an extremely unusual instrument, all others so far studied having a much less impressive 4” diameter dial, see the image comparing the two.

In many respects, this is a scaled up version of the 4” instrument, even down to the typically dog’s tooth patterned bezel. A visually very rewarding instrument with a very low serial no. 449, it is unknown as to if this is a consecutively numbered sequence shared with the smaller instruments, but it is certainly a very  early example. It is worth pointing out that these instruments marked “Dent, Paris” were not the work of Dent – they were imported by him and probably made under the supervision of the man that brought the aneroid system to viability, Lucien Vidi.

The rear door with associated lock and key is often a sign of quality, evident in abundance elsewhere. The presence of a lock is interesting suggesting that the instrument was designed for observation in critical situations, an insurance to preclude tampering with the calibration screw. This, and the brass table mounting brackets secured to the base of the plinth, might suggest maritime use.

It is sure that this is not a one off – there will be others, the question though has to be how many. Based on the occurrence of other rare instruments with known production numbers, I might suggest a production run of a very few hundred and perhaps less. 

Despite the fact that the movement has been changed, this is a particularly important instrument, and very much a collector’s piece.

Dimensions: 12½” high x 8″ wide x 2″ deep

Stock No: BA1735

Price: SOLD