Large barometer with engraved and silvered 8” dial, the upper portion marked “Stormy,” “Rain,” “Change,” “Fair” and “Very Dry,” and having full barometric scale from 26-31 inches of mercury, scaled to 10th inch. The centre embellished with hand-engraved motif. The lower portion signed by the maker “J. Hicks, 8, 9 & 10, Hatton Garden, London,” further marked “Compensated.” Fine blued-steel pointer, gilt brass index set to heavy bevelled glass. Turned pillar with large suspension ring. First quality compensated movement with single 2¾” capsule. The rear case with compensation adjustment port and screw set at 3 o’clock. Presented upon its original, well-executed, carved oak stand with floral theme, having good colour and lustre.
The exceptional dial in near-perfect condition, minor loss to extreme edge, the glass chip-free with very minor marks only, the brass case damage-free and retaining a high proportion of original finish with excellent colour, the sensitive movement cleaned and serviced, in excellent working order and condition, and with good progression. The fine English oak stand damage-free, retaining most original lacquer polish.
This is a rare find – such large barometers in this condition and by this maker are very seldom encountered. It has great presence and wonderful aesthetics, quite apart from its obvious credentials from one of the finest English manufacturers. Having been dismantled, inspected and serviced, it remains in absolutely original condition.
James Joseph Hicks is recorded in Banfield, Edwin Barometers Makers and Retailers, 1660-1900 as working from 8 Hatton Garden from 1861-1884 and 8, 9 & 10 Hatton Garden, London from 1885 onwards, though other sources cite the date of expansion as 1878.
Dimensions: 16″ wide x 12″ high x 3½” deep
Stock No: BA0349
James Joseph Hicks
James J. Hicks of London, England was a well-known manufacturer of scientific instruments in the latter half of the 19th century. Born in Ireland in 1837, Hicks apprenticed as an instrument maker with L.P. Casella in London starting in 1852. By 1860 he had risen to a position of foreman with the company. This date also marks the start of Hicks’ many patent filings principally relating to meteorological and clinical thermometers. In 1861 Hicks started his own company at 8 Hatton Garden, manufacturing a variety of scientific and medical appliances. By the 1870s, James J. Hicks’ company was perhaps the most important supplier of barometers and thermometers in London at the time. He became the first major manufacturer of clinical thermometers and thermometers applied to meteorology and brewing. His company expanded to occupy 8, 9 and 10 Hatton Garden by 1878, catering to the developing science of meteorology, the growing use of industrial control instruments and to military needs through the manufacture of thermometers, barometers, pressure gauges, anemometers and many other types of apparatus. By the end of his working life, he claimed to have manufactured 13 million clinical thermometers, which he supplied throughout the empire. In 1911 Hicks’ company was sold to W.F. Stanley & Co., Ltd in London, and he died in 1916. Hicks’ instruments continue to be sought after for their quality and workmanship.
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