Antique marine barometer with 5” hand-decorated, glazed porcelain dial, the upper portion having barometric scale from 28-31 inches of mercury, annotated “Falls for Warm, Wet or More Wind”, “Changeable,” “Rises for Cold, Dry or Less Wind,” “Marine Aneroid Barometer made by Dollond, London,” the centre with serial “No 911,” the lower portion marked “The Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society,” maker’s address “26 Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, East, S.W.” and the English flag containing the letters “S-F-M-S.” Blued-steel pointer set beneath heavy bevelled glass with gilded telltale to centre. Heavy brass bezel, first quality part nickel-plated aneroid movement of conventional pattern driven by a 3” capsule. The whole contained within a high polished drum pattern case, probably of nickel construction, compensation port to rear set at 3 o’clock. The case bottom with single projecting fixing lug. Set on a carved oak stand with twin stylised dolphins. Silvered brass presentation plaque inscribed “Presented to Mr E.G. Tupman in recognition of 44 years valuable services, 1917.”
This presentation barometer is unique. Not only a very fine example of a much sought-after instrument but a commentary on the life of a truly exceptional man. Edward George Tupman was a Trinity House pilot and the first Coxswain of the Exmouth Life Boat. The instrument is of the highest quality, highly sensitive with stepless transition. The stand is a beautifully executed carving in contrasting cuts of oak depicting two stylised dolphins with a rope work border. The instrument, secured to the stand by a hidden lug to the rear, when removed from the stand revealed a highly polished mirror-finished case, this finish largely protected from the atmosphere since it rested upon the velvet cushion shown. Conservation has revealed a good proportion of this finish. The dial, as with all other porcelain, has extensive superficial crazing to the glaze, but with no ‘damage’ – it remains crisp with excellent colour and resolution.
The instrument now presented reflects much of its original visual quality – it remains ‘as found’ in all respects. This is one of a very limited number produced by Dollond, quite probably for presentation to those involved in the marine trade.
A one of a kind collector’s item.
Dollond traced its beginnings back to 1750, when Peter Dollond, son of a Huguenot silk weaver, started in business as an optician. Over the years, the company was appointed opticians to George III, the Duke of York, William IV and Queen Victoria, becoming Dollond & Co in 1870, and then merging with Aitchison & Co in 1927 (see Banfield, Edwin, Barometer Makers & Retailers, 1660-1900).
Dimensions: 16” wide x 11½” high x 4¼” deep
Stock No: BA0317