Dollond Stick Barometer, c.1765

The Dollond family can lay claim to being one of the most distinguished and certainly the longest-lived, of all scientific instrument firms. From is foundation in 1750 by the elder John Dollond and his son Peter, the firm continued through various partnerships involving a younger son and two ‘Georges’ to become the company now known as ‘Dollond & Aitchison’, which survives to this day.

John the elder is most famous for his achromatic lens patent f 1758. He was awarded the Copley Medal the same year and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1761.

In his definitive book, Nicholas Goodison is somewhat dismissive of the quality of Dollond barometers and, in particular, their cabinet work. Perhaps he examined too many 19th Century instruments and not enough early ones. Certainly, nobody could fail to be impressed by the magnificent specimen we now have on display, made around 1765 by Peter Dollond.

It is a large and massively built instrument with a long register plate and a full length thermometer on the trunk – both dials being protected by heavy cast brass doors.

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