"Biram's Patent" Anemometer

Portable, single-dial, eight-vane, mechanical anemometer with carrying or hanging loop at top. Device consists of a circular brass band with exterior frame around its vertical middle that holds a central shaft in place that is turned by the spatulate-shaped vanes and connected to a small circular dial, marked 1 to 9 with "X" at zero place, at center front of frame. Top front crossbar of frame engraved "Biram's Patent" while bottom front crossbar has "Davis & Son", "647" and "A" (sideways), all in roman letters.
The anemometer measures wind velocity in order to determine the volume of air entering or exiting mine shafts. It was invented in 1844 by Benjamin Biram (1804-1857), house steward to the Earl Fitzwilliam, who owned several coal mines in South Yorkshire, England. Scientific instrument maker John Davis (1810-1873) of Derby, England, first manufactured the device in 1845; and anemometers based on Biram's patent continued to be produced by the successor firms of John Davis & Son and Davis Derby until the mid 20th century.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
1850 - 1875
Physical Description
brass (band; frame elements; handle material)
metal, sheet (vanes material)
steel (mechanism; pointer on dial material)
silvered brass (dial face material)
overall: 1 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 1/8 in; 3.175 cm x 11.43 cm x 10.4775 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, Derby
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Estate of John Paul Remensnyder
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.