A very unusual gilt brass pocket barometer altimeter and compass compendium by James Lancaster & Son, Birmingham, c1890

Pocket Barometer Altimeter Compass Compendium by Lancaster & Son c1890 - SOLD


Pocket barometer compendium having 1¾” die struck and silvered dial, barometric scale in inches of mercury having a range from 21 – 31, outer rotating altitude ring marked in feet with a range from 0 – 10,000. The upper dial marked with standard meterological terms, “Rain,” “Change,” “Fair,” and “Compensated,” the lower part bearing the maker’s name “Lancaster & Son, Birmingham.” Fine blued steel pointer set beneath a deep bevelled low iron glass. Rotating bezel with engine turned circumference; plain spigot type suspension post and ring. Conventional though extremely high quality exhibition grade single 1⅛” capsule driven movement, finely executed, the chassis in two parts, blued and polished screws, the primary lever with date of manufacture engraved as “3/10/90.” Plain ribbed gilt brass drum form case, the verso with compensation port. Screw-fitted compass, the silvered, die struck and hand engraved quadrant card with compass rose to centre, cardinals and intercardinals, polished steel bar needle with jewelled suspension, deep bevelled matching glass, bar to lock with side mounted semi recessed actuator low barrel form case.

The whole contained within its original double sided leather over wood, green silk and velvet lined case, snap closures and button releases.

This pocket barometer compendium is better made and arguably better designed than any we have encountered – the attention to detail is obvious, as is the overall quality and function. The type of compass, a full-face bar needle is very unusual in these compendia, and the movement is of a style and execution that, as a combination, we have not seen before. Many of these instruments are unattributed examples of work by Negretti& Zambra or Short & Mason – this differs so much and in so many ways from all others that it would may well be the work of Lancaster, rather than just carrying the retailer’s signature.

The barometer has very good sensitivity and progression and moves well to full scale deflection, the compass swings freely and finds north easily. The compass is easily detached from the barometer and is held in place by a well-engineered screw thread ensuring, when re-engaged, that the compass locking actuator parks neatly in line with the bow.

The rarity of this particular instrument may be explained by the cost of production – owing to its much better than average quality, it would have been too expensive to produce, especially in a marketplace where competition was so intense.

Retaining much of its original gilt finish, the glass to compass with chips to one section of the circumference, the bow with minor losses, the leather case with losses to leather covering, the silk and velvet interior having survived well with good colour and integrity. Both closure buttons replaced as missing. Overall crisp, original good working order and condition, this pocket barometer compendium has been fully serviced, conserved and calibrated.

A very desirable and eminently useable collector’s piece.

Dimensions: 2¾” diameter x 1½” deep

Stock No: CP0627

Price: SOLD

Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890
Image of Lancaster Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium c1890

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