A good silver compendium comprising pocket barometer, compass and thermometer in original fitted case, retailed by J.G. Cairns, Portsmouth, c1892

Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium Retailed by Cairns, Portsmouth, c1892


Image of open case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 showing the retailer's details and the pocket barometer, thermometer and compassAneroid pocket barometer with 1½” silvered and engraved dial, outer altitude scale with rotating bezel and index having a range from 0 – 9,000 ft divided to 100 ft increments. Inner barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 22 – 31 and divided to 1/10ths of an inch. The upper dial with typical meteorological terms: “Rain, Change, Fair,” further annotated “Compensated,” fine blued steel pointer, all set beneath a bevelled crystal. First quality movement of conventional form driven from a 7/8th” capsule tensioned on a C spring. All contained within a barrel form case with engine turned finishes, hallmarked extension post and pinned suspension ring. The verso bearing full silver hallmarks for Philip Woodman & Sons, with suspension ring by William Smiley, date letter Q for 1891, and delicately engraved floral design. Calibration port.

The compass of mother of pearl 1½” singers pattern floating card, cardinals and intercardinal points, north marked with the singers trademark lyre and star, set beneath a bevelled crystal. Suspension post and ring with integral lock. Matching barrel form case with engine turned finishes. The verso matching the pocket barometer with delicately engraved floral design, and full silver hallmarks for Barker & Son and date letter R for 1892.

The original thermometer with dual marked register calibrated in both degrees Fahrenheit and Centigrade with ranges from 20 -110 and -10 to 40 respectively.

All contained within an easel pattern twin-lidded flat green leather over timber red silk and velvet lined travelling case. The inner lids marked in gold block, “J.G. Cairns, From Hunt & Roskell, 105 High Street, Portsmouth.” Gilt brass security clasp. Fold out easel stand with ribbon restraints to verso.

Condition: All three instruments in very crisp original condition, the barometer working well, having been the subject of a detailed overhaul and calibration under laboratory conditions (see performance chart). The compass easily finds north, the locking mechanism securely arresting the card. Both instrument cases show signs of wear with minor marks only. The thermometer responding correctly to rise and fall of temperature. 

The travel case the subject of some restoration, notably the lower edge of the right hand lid, the work conducted as the original construction both in form and materials. The leather exterior faded, worn and marked with evidence of moisture damage to the dyed finish, some losses at corners and evident damage to hinged section of right hand lid. The case structurally sound, the fabric interior with general wear and some fading though still with a good measure of vibrancy and colour density.

Comments: Compendia of this type are now rarely seen: the two major instruments are not only matched and original in all respects, but are beautifully decorated on the versos. It is not clear if this decoration is purely decorative or in fact a very elaborate monogram, but in any event this type of decoration is seldom seen and would at the time of purchase greatly added to the cost. Additionally the instruments are of the smaller size than standard, and occur very less frequently.

Joseph Gustavus Cairns is shown in the censuses of 1891 and 1911 as being a jeweller and watchmaker. Cairns would appear to have bought in this very handsome compendium from the highly respected London jewellers, Hunt & Roskell. Hunt & Roskell held a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.

In all, this is a highly desirable collector’s piece in much above average and very original condition.

Dimensions: 5” long x 3¼” wide x 1” high

Stock No: CP1523

Price: £1800

Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 Performance Chart

Image of open case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 showing the retailer's details and the pocket barometer, thermometer and compass, taken from lefthand side
Image of pocket barometer, thermometer and compass from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of pocket barometer, thermometer and compass with case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of inside left flap of case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of pocket barometer from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of reverse of pocket barometer from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of compass from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of reverse of compass from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of inside right flap of case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Horizontal image of pocket barometer from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Horizontal image of reverse of pocket barometer from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 showing hallmarks
Image of movement from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Horizontal image of compass from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Horizontal image of reverse of compass from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of closed case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 taken from lefthand side
Image of closed case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 taken from righthand side
Image of front of closed case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892
Image of reverse of case from Cairns Silver Pocket Barometer Compendium c1892 showing stand





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