Historical information

A Storm Glass and Thermometer such as this one would be used in predicting or forecasting the weather. Farmers used predictions they read from their Storm Glass to prepare for stormy weather or for choosing a good time for planting or harvesting their crops. This could mean to them the difference between a good year and a year without income. This design has been in use since the early 1800’s. According to Admiral Fitzroy (who studied the storm glass and wrote instructions on its use) the liquid in the glass changes composition and appearance according to the direction of the air moving around it. He advised the user to disturb the contents once or twice a year by tipping it upside down and shaking it gently.


Item is a good example of a barometer/thermometer that would have been in most homes and farms from the late 19th century and early 20th century. This item would have been massed produced at the time therefore easily available and quite cheap to purchase making this particular item not very significant as not associated with a historic person or property or with a known manufacturer or date.

Physical description

Storm Glass and Thermometer, commonly called a 'Cottage Barometer', mounted on a rectangular dark rectangle of wood, top corners rounded. The Storm Glass (or weather glass, or chemical weather glass) is suspended in a long oval shaped hole in the wood on left side, held in place at top and at bottom with 2 metal bands secured by nails. The glass of this gauge is hand blown, sealed at the top with another layer of glass. The watery fluid in the storm glass is opaque brownish colour with dark particles floating in it. (Storm glasses were usually filled with a variation of a mix of camphor, distilled water, ethyl alcohol and silver nitrate.)
The alcohol thermometer is mounted on the right side of the wood, bulb resting in a hollow, attached at top and near base by 2 thin metal strips, with clover-leaf shaped ends, nailed into place. Over the bulb is nailed a metal guard with 3 ventilation slits cut into it. On left of thermometer is a scale, stamped into wood, 30 below zero to 130 above zero, in 2 degree intervals.
A border of 2 thin parallel lines, with remnants of light coloured paint, is around the block of wood. On the reverse side, a metal plate is nailed to the top with a mounting hole in it.

Inscriptions & markings

Impressed sideways along edge of barometer is "STORMY" "CHANGE" "FAIR".
Across the top of the thermometer is a fleur de leis in the wood, and above this it is stamped "FAHRENHEIT".
On right of the thermometer, stamped into the wood, is "BLOOD/HEAT", "SUMR/HEAT", "TEMPE/RATE", "FREEZ/ING".
On the back of the wood, at the base, are remnants of a white sticker with "...111.73".
Carved into the wood is "HOLLAND / AV".