Pocket barometer compass compendium contained within a silver ribbed drum form case by Richard James Oliver, the pocket barometer having 1¾” die struck and silvered dial, the upper part marked “Rain,” “Change” and “Fair,” the lower portion marked “Compensated,” calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 23 – 31, outer altitude ring with rotation from the crown and having a range from 0 – 8,000 ft. Fine blued steel pointer set beneath a bevelled glass, suspension post and ring, and crown. Conventional lacquered brass aneroid movement driven by a single 1¼” capsule, the cross shaft mounted on a separate sub-chassis, movement marked “3.9.87.”
The pocket barometer case verso bearing the ostrich crest and motto “Tentanda via est” of the Peckham family of Nyton, Sussex and Chichester, Sussex, hallmarks for London, silver, and 1887, and case maker’s cartouche bearing the letters “RJO” (Richard James Oliver). Calibration adjustment screw at 8 o’clock.
The detachable ‘push fit’ compass with jewel suspended polished steel bar needle, silvered brass transit locking bar, silvered and die struck dial with bold stylised compass rose marked with cardinals and inter-cardinals, the azimuth divided to 90 degree quadrants having marked stations at 10 degree intervals, and further divided to two degrees. Heavy set bevelled glass. Case mounted button actuator for transit lock.
The compass verso with the crest of the Peckham family of Sussex, hallmarks for London, silver, and 1887, and case maker’s cartouche bearing the letters “RJO” (Richard James Oliver). The compass finds north easily. The transit lock working well.
All contained within a contemporary burgundy leather over wood, purple silk and velvet lined case with a snap closure on a button release, the case with loss to leather over the button but otherwise in very good condition.
Without doubt silver compendia are rare – this one clearly the former property of an important Sussex family only serves to further increase the interest and desirability of the piece. The quality of craftsmanship is of the highest order in the construction of all parts, the case by one of London’s pre-eminent silversmiths.
Having been the subject of extensive conservation work, including the replacement of the “C” spring, servicing, re-calibration and testing, this important instrument is in excellent working order and very good cosmetic condition.
At some point in its life, probably earlier rather than later, rather poor hollow silver bun feet had been added to the case – the standard of workmanship was lacking. After careful consideration, it was decided to remove these on the grounds that they were not part of the original design and served only to detract from the fine quality of workmanship by Richard Oliver.
Although not attributed, there are certain aspects in design that are unusual – in particular, the movement sub-chassis design – this found in very similar lacquered brass instruments, the dials signed “Lancaster.” This is a wonderful thing, extremely hard to find and very definitely a collector’s piece.
The Peckham family of the Nyton estate in Aldingbourne, Sussex can be traced back to Edward Peckham, Lord of Nyton and East Hampnett, born c1553. This silver pocket barometer compendium may have belonged to either the Reverend Harry John Peckham (1841-1922), or to his son, Richard Harry Peckham (1877-1906), a Royal Artillery officer.
Dimensions: 2½” diameter x 1″ deep
Stock No: CP0667