A scarce, interesting, lacquered brass and oak cased five glass recording barometer by Short & Mason with provenance to Commander John Brooke DSC, RN c1920

Drum Barograph and Barometer by Short & Mason c1920


Short & Mason barograph comprising eight cell pressure sensing module with calibration adjustment wheel over. Primary lever with counterbalance, polished steel cross shafts, blued steel screws, light alloy polished recording arm with adjustable tensioning. 4½” silvered die struck open centre barometer dial, the outer part with various meteorological annotations, the inner barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 28-31 inches divided to 1/100th”, the lower part struck “Rd No 428606,” signed by the maker “Short & Mason, London.” Blued steel pointer. All raised on four turned pillars over a fluted border chassis. Free floating recording drum with top mounted platform escapement, top lid, captive winding key, bearing upon a conical base with sun wheel, both assemblies struck no. “50.” Ink station with bottle and dipper.

All set upon a lacquered light oak case with frieze drawer below. Affixed silver plate engraved “Commander John Brooke, D.S.C. R.N from his Messmates H.M.S. Benbow, 12th May 1928.” Lift off cover with five bevelled lights.

Condition: This instrument has been the subject of minor restoration, a full re-build, and re-calibration under laboratory conditions. The recording arm replaced here at Vavasseur along with the nib. The timber case re-polished, and the rear the subject of some restoration to lacquer, this had been very badly affected by sunlight as have so many. In all other respects, this remains a very original instrument. 

Generally this appears very much of its age, having clearly benefited from careful custodianship. The lacquer to the case generally with fading, minor marks and abrasions. The top light with a number of minor scratches. The cabinet structurally sound. The movement retaining the vast proportion of its original lacquered finish. The recording drum lid marked and abraded with points of oxidation. The instrument works exceptionally well with more than acceptable levels of accuracy; response is very good, enabling good levels of resolution for small pressure changes.

During the course of the re-build, the entire instrument was disassembled, the re-assembly including balancing, alignment, and re-profiling, together with polishing of pivots.

Comments: This is now an excellent barograph, in very good working order. Though the plaque is dated 1928, this is a slightly earlier instrument, c1920.

Barographs with provenance do come along occasionally – of those, they are generally sports, civil or religiously connected, and it is rare to find an instrument with a strong connection to the military and, even better, to the Royal Navy.  Commander John Brooke was a respected naval officer who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross “for good service when in command of a destroyer on the Belgian coast.”

HMS Benbow was the third of the Iron Duke class battleships, named in honour of Admiral John Benbow, laid down at William Beardmore in 1911, and launched 1913, she displaced 25,000 tons, the main armament 10 x 13.5”, secondary 12 x 6”. She was at Jutland and, post-war, served with the Mediterranean fleet. Decommissioned in 1929.

Dimensions: 14″ wide x 8″ high x 8½” deep

Stock No: BG1743

Price: £2250






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