The essential guide to buying pocket barometers

About Pocket Barometers

Antique Pocket Barometers

The name of a pocket barometer is already self-explanatory, simply meaning a barometer that you can fit into your pocket. Originally Victorian men would wear them in their waistcoat pockets. The first pocket barometers were produced in the early 1860s.

These barometers are now valuable collectables. Pocket barometers today normally measure around 5cm in diameter. The larger style of barometers are called aneroid barometers, instruments that measure pressure without using liquid. When you’re looking at purchasing an antique pocket barometer, pay attention to the dial as this is where you will often find some kind of engraving that provides a hint of its origins and also the year of manufacture too.


Pocket Barometer Materials

Pocket barometer cases are available in a variety of different metals. Most commonly you will find brass being used for barometers, but the more luxurious models often feature silver or gold in them. Additionally, the metal of the case could have decorative finishes, such as polishing or tarnish. The dial characteristically has a glass covering. When purchasing antique pocket barometers, you should ensure that the glass doesn’t have any scratches on it. Of course you could replace the glass if the rest of the barometer is in order but you are then losing value on the item as, with original glass, the barometer is more valuable than with a replacement.


Additional Features of Pocket Barometers

Besides the obvious barometer feature, many barometers also come with some additional features that allow them to provide more functionality than if it were merely a barometer. Some pocket barometers have an altimeter, so you can check the altitude. Larger barometers could also come with magnifying lenses, allowing you to see finer variations on the barometer and so be able to read the dial more accurately, especially if it has small markings. You can also find compasses and thermometers as features of a pocket barometer.


Pocket Barometers with Carrying Cases

Many people keep these scientific instruments in special carrying cases, made of materials like leather, and so they could be in good condition. The carrying cases often also come with a velvet lining. If you purchase a barometer with a carrying case, double check to make sure it doesn’t have any dents and that the button latch for opening and closing the case works properly.