Pike Mercury Banjo Barometer

This is a compound instrument held in a wooden frame. The large circular face is silvered. The scale around the edge extends from 28 to 31 inches of mercury, and subdivided to 0.01 inches; there are also indications for “STORMY,” MUCH RAIN,” “RAIN,” “Change,” “FAIR,” “SET FAIR,” and “Very Dry.” There is a mercury-in-glass thermometer mounted above, mounted on a silvered scale that extends from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with indications for “Freezing,” “Blood Heat,” etc. At top there is a small gut hygrometer. A medallion at the bottom reads “B. PIKE & SONS / 518 BROADWAY / NEW YORK.” The firm was in business from 1841 to 1867, and at this address from 1855. It is difficult to know, however, whether the Pikes made this instrument, or simply sold it.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States: New York, New York
overall: 36 7/8 in x 10 in x 1 1/4 in; 93.6625 cm x 25.4 cm x 3.175 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Silvio Bedini
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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