CASH IN THE ATTIC: The temperature has dropped – but prices of antique barometers are red hot
Temperatures plunged across the UK in recent days, but if you measured the cold snap on an antique barometer you may have a red hot investment on your hands.
The barometer was invented in 1643 by Italian Evangelista Torricelli, using a sealed glass tube and a bowl of mercury.
The instrument worked by measuring air pressure – with high pressure pushing up the mercury.
Low pressure indicated that rain clouds were on the horizon. Modern mercury-based barometers still work on this basis.
Among the most collectable barometers are 18th Century ‘stick’ instruments that came in a 3ft long case.
In good condition these sell for £1,000, but a 1730 walnut long case, right, by a top maker such as John Hallifax of Barnsley might sell for £15,000.
Aneroid barometers, invented by Lucien Vidi in 1843, have a metal box to measure air pressure change.
An 1860s Bourdon & Richard aneroid barometer can command a price of £3,000.
The sympiesometer barometer used a traditional mercury thermometer and a ‘J’-shaped tube filled with almond oil. These can sell for £500 or more.