A Good Early 20thC Ebonised ‘Mystery’ Barometer by Short & Mason

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Origin: English
Period: George V
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920-25
Height: 6.25 inches
Base Diameter: 3.25 inches

The early twentieth century table-top ‘mystery’ dial barometer made by Short & Mason, having an attractively shaped ballooned ebonised case with clear glass dial etch marked ‘Stormy’ through to ‘Very Dry’ with the makers name under.

The barometer is in good structural aesthetic order with glass having no cracks and only a small amount of tiny fritting and the ebonised finish only with a little wear. The original paper label of instructions is found to the underside of the base. We are unsure if the barometer is working or not but have no reason to believe it isn’t. It appears 100% complete.

Mystery barometers are named just as mystery clocks are; IE the mystery comes in how these instruments work because the hands don't seem to be connected to any workings. With more conventional instruments, it's easy to see where the hands are attached to the workings that move them, whether powered by a mechanical pendulum or an electric motor. But in mystery clocks and barometers, the hands seem to move with no apparent mechanism to drive them. Turn the item over, examine the back, and you still won't be able to tell what makes it work.

Short and Mason was established in 1845 by Thomas Short and James Mason in London. The business was located at 40 Hatton Garden, London, and produced precision measuring instruments including barometers, anemometers, and compasses. They became leaders in the field of barograph design. They pioneered the theory that a storm forecast could be made from just observing the air pressure and whether it was rising or falling. Short and Mason obtained a copyright for this forecast in 1921.

Turns out barometers can be beautifully made and beautifully edgy.

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