Weather Glass


The simple storm glass, also known as a chemical weather glass, consists of a sealed glass vessel containing a salt in solution, so designed that the state of crystallization was said to indicate some aspect of the weather. A torn paper label on the back of this example provides instructions for use.

The inventor of the storm glass is unknown, but the form was widely known in Europe and the United States by the middle years of the nineteenth century. A British scientist named Charles Tomlinson conducted experiments and found that “the storm-glass acts as a rude kind of thermoscope, inferior, for most purposes of observation, to the thermometer.”

Ref: Charles Tomlinson, “An Experimental Examination of the so-called Storm-glass,” The Philosophical Magazine 26 (1863): 93-109.

Anita McConnell and Philip Collins, “Will the True Originator of the Storm Glass Please Own Up,” Ambix 53 (2013): 67–75

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.322299Catalog Number: 322299Accession Number: 247190

Object Name: weather glass

Measurements: overall: 26 cm x 12.7 cm x 15.3 cm; 10 1/4 in x 5 in x 6 inoverall: 10 in x 5 in x 6 in; 25.4 cm x 12.7 cm x 15.24 cm


Record Id: nmah_1184645

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