Jesse Ramsden, London. c.1785.

An outstanding George III 'flat to wall' mahogany bowfront stick barometer by the world renowned maker Jesse Ramsden, London. The ebony strung bowfronted case veneered with figured flame mahogany of rich colour, sits flat against the wall (a feature of the best quality stick and bow front barometers) with cushion moulded pediment. The finely engraved silvered scale plate is fitted with a rack and pinion operated vernier scale, signed 'Ramsden, London'.

The canted corners of the base are inlaid with ebony lines, with the finely turned ebonised urn shaped cistern cover concealing the off set boxwood cistern and ebony mouldings.

"To own a Ramsden instrument, be it one of his great theodolites or one of the many sextants and barometers produced at his London workshop, was to own not only an instrument of incredible accuracy and great practical use, but also a thing of beauty."

Jesse Ramsden (b.1731-d.1800) was probably the greatest instrument maker of all time.

In 1775, invented a semi-automatic dividing machine, capable of marking graduated scales on sextants and other nautical and astronomical instruments. Developed improvements in the manufacture of sextants, theodolites, barometers, micrometers, and countless other devices. One of the most important instruments built by him is the great astronomical circle of the Palermo Observatory. In 1786, elected fellow of the Royal Society of London and, eight years later, member of the Imperial Academy of Saint Petersburg. In 1795, won the Copley Medal, the highest scientific award of his time: the prize was established in 1736 by the Royal Society, thanks to a bequest from Sir Godfrey Copley.

He set up his own business in Haymarket, St James's in 1768, and moved to 199 Piccadilly from 1772 until his death in 1800. An account of Ramsden's work is given in Banfield (Edwin) Barometer Maker's and Retailers, p.179 and Goodison (Nicholas) English Barometers, p.222.

Height 39".


Flat to wall case

'Ramsden, London'


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