An extremely unusual, metric gilt brass Watkin Patent extended scale mountaineers or balloonists barometric altimeter by J Hicks, London, No 305, retailed by Elliott Brothers, London, scaled to 3,000m, c1888

Watkin Patent Extended Scale Barometer Altimeter by Hicks No 305 c1888

Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305Finely engraved and silvered 3” brass dial with tri-concentric scales reading metres of altitude and centimetres of mercury, reading indicator set at 6 o’clock, calibrations from 55cm to 79cm of mercury and from 0-3,000 metres altitude, “Watkin Patent” in an arc above the centre with “Compensated” and serial “No 305,” the lower dial bearing retailer’s legend “Elliott Bros, London,” the instrument manufactured by J. Hicks, 8, 9, & 10 Hatton Gardens, London. Fine blued-steel index, very fine telltale with spring anchor to arbour. The case with rotating bezel carrying index, set with bevelled glass and having compensation adjustment to rear.

The dial cleaned, the silvering remains original with some very minor shadowing, the case with minor points of oxidation, some age-associated wear and patination, retaining most original finish and color. On receipt, the two-fusee mechanism was at fault and has been entirely rectified without the use of replacement parts. Function and transition excellent.

There is no question as to the maker since Hicks retained the sole rights to manufacture. Most such items are signed by the maker, “J. Hicks,” but a very few bear the names of other retailers, this being one such.  In addition, examination in the course of conservation of this Watkin Patent extended scale barometer confirms that this is absolutely the work of Hicks and is one of the extremely rare variations of this instrument, made almost certainly for export to the continent.

Major (later Colonel) Henry Samuel Spiller Watkin of the Royal Artillery was granted a British patent no. 3425 for a rotary indicator and dial scale on 11 March 1886.

Elliott Brothers was one of the most important instrument manufacturers in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries (and now forms part of GEC), though, with the main focus of the business being on electrical instruments, “Elliott Bros.” barometers are scarce.

Dimensions: 3¼” diameter x 1½” deep

Stock No: WP0310

Price: Vavasseur Archive

Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305
Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305
Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305
Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305
Image of Watkin Patent Altimeter by Hicks No 305


    Recent Portfolios