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Water Barometers - Attractive, Decorative and Functional

Updated on October 26, 2013

Throughout all of my teenaged years my aunt had a water barometer (much like the one pictured) mounted in the middle of the house on the partition between the kitchen and the living room. It had been given to her as a gift and I remember the day she filled it up. It looked pretty cool, but I didn't understand why she was so crazy about it.

She explained to me that it was an old fashoioned device for predicting the weather. The water in the spout would move up and down depending on air pressure and air pressure is indicative of impending weather fronts.

Well, that made it sort of neat. Then it became habit to check on it every day as the water moved up and down. It never ceased to be particularly interesting when a big thunderstorm rolled in and the barometer would bubble over.

I know that it doesn't sound very exciting but the water barometer was more than just a decoration. It was a part of my life, a symbol of home and that is why, as an adult I have one in my home today.

The device its self is so simple, it looks like a pretty teapot shaped glass vessel that hangs on a hook filled with blue water inside.

I look at it every day and though we don't get thunderstorms to the same extent in the UK, it does still bubble over when a big storm is imminent.

A water barometer might not be the sort of thing that someone would buy for themselves if they just saw it in a store but knowing more about it certainly makes it more than just a pretty glass bobble. It also makes a really unique gift item. You may need to do a bit of explaining but the recipient is sure to be amused.

Below I've included a short (under 2 min) video explaining how the water barometer works.

Ambient Weather BA212 Wall Mounted Weather Station with Thermometer, Hygrometer, and Barometer - Cherry Finish
Ambient Weather BA212 Wall Mounted Weather Station with Thermometer, Hygrometer, and Barometer - Cherry Finish

This particular piece is so beautiful. I especially like the glass drip tray in the bottom.

Besides the barometer it also includes a "comfort meter" that measures temperature as well as humidity.

 
Ambient Weather BA30806 Etched Globe Storm Glass Barometer w/ Drip Cup
Ambient Weather BA30806 Etched Globe Storm Glass Barometer w/ Drip Cup

I think this style of barometer is lovely. It sits on a desk or shelf instead of hanging on the wall and it's stylized like a little globe which makes it decorative and functional in a totally different way.

 
Lily's Home Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass and Galileo Thermometer
Lily's Home Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass and Galileo Thermometer

Here is a great set of, gorgeously presented, old timey water based measuring devices.

We used to have a Galileo thermometer which was always accurate but had an unfortunate accident. This is the first time I've seen the Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass though.

The Galileo thermometer measures temperature as the weighted internal glass bubbles rise and fall.

How the storm glass actually works appears to be a subject of debate however, it does form crystals which appear to be in response to weather changes affecting solubility. The crystal formations are likely to be mostly dependent on temperature but it still looks pretty fantastic and I want one.

 

This is my Water Barometer that hangs in our front hall. It's got a decorative cast iron hook and drip plate which makes it fairly unique as far as water barometers go. It was a gift from my husband and I've never seen another one like it.

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    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      My grandpa was always johnny-on-the-spot ready with weather forecasts because he used an old fashioned barometer. These new designs are cool.