The making of barometers and related scientific instruments.
|Historic area of significance||Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, UK|
|Area currently practised||UK|
|Origin in the UK||1700s|
|Current no. of professionals (main income)||4 (see other information)|
|Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
|Current no. of trainees||0|
|Current total no. serious amateur makers
|Current total no. of leisure makers
|Minimum no. of craftspeople required|
A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure in a certain environment. There are various different types of barometer including water barometers, mercury barometers, sympiesometers, vacuum pump oil barometer, aneroid barometers and barographs.
A mercury barometer measures atmospheric pressure in a certain location and has a vertical glass tube closed at the top sitting in an open mercury-filled basin at the bottom. On 5 June 2007, a European Union directive was enacted to restrict the sale of mercury, thus effectively ending the production of new mercury barometers.
Barometer making was once a large industry in the UK and is now reduced to very few individuals.
Traditional barometers have now largely been replaced by microelectromechanical systems (or MEMS) barometers, which are extremely small devices between 1 and 100 micrometres in size (0.001 to 0.1 mm) and are used in smart phones, miniaturized weather stations, electronic barometers and altimeters.
Barometer making uses a wide range of precision skills including woodwork, glass work and metal work.
There are no local variations but there are various types of barometer (see sub crafts)/
- Barograph making
- Thermometer making
- Sympiesometer making
- Thermoscope making
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Training issues: There is no funding available to take on apprentices.
- Legislative issues: Mercury has been banned in barometers since 2008. This means that no new mercury barometers can be made or sold.
- Market issues: Traditional barometers have now been largely replaced by digital pressure sensors and digital barometers.
Craftspeople currently known
- HG Barometers
- B Cooke and Sons
Businesses employing two or more makers:
The number of makers includes those who primarily work in restoration and repair.
Waugh, Tessa, (2018) ‘The barometer-maker: “The oldest one we’ve worked on here was dated 1705 – well before the internet or TV weather forecasts.”‘, in Country Life.
- Jones, Huw, (2007), ‘EU bans mercury in barometers, thermometers’, in Reuters.
- Wikipedia entry on barometers.