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Rosewood Sympiesometer by Carpenter and Westley, c.1840
The sympiesometer displayed here was made around 1840 by the London partnership of Mary Carpenter and William Westley. It could lay claim to be among the most elegant sympiesometers ever made with a bowfronted rosewood case of perfect proportions

As a domestic instrument, the sympiesometer flourished only briefly, between 1830 and 1850. It had been invented in 1818 by Alexander Adie in Edinburgh as his version of Robert Hooke’s air barometer, first described to the Royal Society in 1667. His aim was to produce a rugged instrument capable of withstanding the rigours of shipboard use, and in this he succeeded brilliantly.

When his patent expired in 1832, other makers began to produce versions for domestic use and there were even instances where it was fitted, piggyback fashion, on conventional mercurial stick barometers. The death knell for the sympiesometer came with the invention in the 1840s of the aneroid barometer, which was even smaller and tougher.

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