A very rare engine turned silver pocket barometer, thermometer and compass compendium by CW Dixey, London No 1093 c1880

Rare Silver Pocket Barometer Compass Compendium by Dixey No 1093 c1880


Silver pocket barometer having French silvered 1⅞” engraved stepped dial, outer barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 21” – 31” and divided to ⅛”, inner altimetric scale with a range from 0 – 10,000 feet, divided to 100ft. The inner at the upper part with standard meteorological terms and signed by the maker “C.W. Dixey, Optician to the Queen.” The lower part with further particulars stating business address as “New Bond St, London,” serial no. “1093” and “Compensated.” Semi circular thermometer calibrated in degrees Fahrenheit with a range from 20 – 140, divided to two degrees. Fine blued steel pointer, rotating bezel with needle index, all set beneath a bevelled glass. The first quality movement driven from a single 1” nickel silver capsule and tensioned on a C spring.

The detachable threaded compass marked “Singer’s Patent” with mother of pearl floating card on a jewelled suspension having cardinals and inter cardinals with Singer’s trademark star and lyre indicating north.

All contained within drum form elaborately engine turned silver cases, straight turned knurling to finishers.

The whole presented in its original smooth grained burgundy leather over timber, cream silk and purple velvet lined, two tier case, snap closures on button releases.

Condition: The subject of full conservation, servicing, testing and calibration under laboratory conditions. The movement working well with more than acceptable levels of accuracy over the standard barometric range, progressively less accurate over lower pressures and consistent with capsule design of this type, see performance chart.

The pocket barometer dial with slight oxidation at step, otherwise clean crisp and undamaged, the thermometer with unbroken thread and reading correctly, the bezel and index moving with correct positive resistance. The glass without visible scratches or chips, clean and translucent. The compass with undamaged card, the markings and annotations clear, lock working correctly, swinging freely and easily finding north.

The silver case appearing crisp and true with good colour and texture. The high quality travel case with losses to leather over buttons, otherwise in very good condition.

Comments:  These silver double-sided compendia are very rare indeed and represent a minute part of Dixey’s production. The elaborate decoration to the case suggests a special order.

Collectability is an interesting concept – for an item to be truly collectable, and to hold undeniable status as such, it needs to fulfil certain criteria, one of which is that the piece should be known, ie there should be a few known as representative examples. Apart from the obvious attributes of high aesthetic value, this piece combines function with historical, socio-economic and cultural interest. It is a piece of fine art expressed in silver.

Very crisp, original in all respects, it represents one of the very best silver pocket barometer compendia that might be found.

Very clearly a collector’s piece.

Charles Wastell Dixey (1798-1880), was an optical and mathematical instrument maker to Queen Victoria. The company, known as C.W. Dixey was founded by William Fraser in 1777 at 3 New Bond Street, then, as now, an extremely exclusive address in London. In 1824 Charles Wastell Dixey and his uncle George Dixey bought the business and made it one of London’s most distinguished instrument companies. 

Dimensions: 2½” wide x 3″ long x 1½” deep

Stock No: CP0728

Price: SOLD






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