A very unusual large silver travelling desk barometer altimeter thermometer compendium by Short & Mason retailed by Thornhill, London, c1903

Large Silver Travelling Desk Barometer Altimeter by Thornhill c1903


Large silver barometer having 3½” die struck silvered stepped dial, rotating bezel-driven outer altitude ring calibrated in feet with a range from 0-8,000ft divided to 50ft, stations at the 1000s. Inner barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 23–31″ divided to 20th”. The lower centre dial with standard meteorological terms, the lower portion with semi-circular thermometer set on a decorated dual register showing degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit with ranges 10–60 and 0–140 respectively. Fine blued steel pointer set below a bevelled glass. The standard Vidi pattern movement driven from a 1.5″ diameter nickel alloy capsule tensioned on a C spring, constructed principally in frosted gilt brass and raised over a circular chassis. All contained within an inner spun brass case.

The whole contained within a classical heavy silver lidded desk case, London silver assay marks to inner lid and base, the circumference engraved “Thornhill, London.”

Condition: The subject of a complete mechanical overhaul, conservation, and calibration under laboratory conditions. The dial crisp and clean, some very minor marks to lower centre, the thermometer thread unbroken and working well. The movement working well with sensitivity and stepless progression showing an error across the range of less than 110th”, see performance chart. 

The silver case with abrasions to the base, minor impressions and marks to circumference, the lid closing snugly, the hinge sound. Silver hallmarks crisp and well struck. Later initials polished out on lid.

Comments: The barometer undoubtedly the work of Short & Mason, the movement initialled by the finisher “GM” and dated “5/1/9” (1899). The silver case hallmarked for 1903 and silversmith William Frederick Wright.

Large desk barometer shown with normal pocket barometer on top for scale

Shown with a normal size silver pocket barometer for scale

A really unusual compendium for its much larger than normal diameter. This is a truly impressive instrument with wonderful aesthetic quality, original in all respects. Clearly an instrument of exceptional quality, evident in the execution and manner in which the dial is divided, the quality of the movement, and the very much better than average accuracy.

William Frederick Wright registered the “W.F.W” hallmark in 1895. Thornhill were very upmarket silversmiths and retailers based in Bond Street, London.

Very much for the collector or as a fine gift.

Dimensions: 4″ diameter x 1¼” deep

Stock No: BA1757

Price: £2250






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