DEN Project

No.1 – Rare Whitehurst Barometer

I’ve chosen to kick of this feature with this Rare Whitehurst Barometer which sold for a record breaking £22,000 at auction in Derby in March 2010.

Rare Whitehurst barometer

Rare Whitehurst barometer

The barometer, dated 1757, lay undiscovered behind a wardrobe at a home in Borrowash for years. It measures 7cm by 53cm and would have been used to measure atmospheric pressure.

The 253 year old piece is one of only 25 known examples by clockmaker John Whitehurst who lived in Derby in the 1700s. He lived in Iron Gate until 1764 and thereafter at Queen Street. He corresponded with Erasmus Darwin at Lichfield and Matthew Boulton in Birmingham and by 1764 the trio formed the nucleus of the Lunar society. Whitehurst created barometers, pyrometers, thermometers and other types of instrument, writing a thesis advocating the universal introduction of standard measurements. He also pioneered heating and ventilation systems for house, factories, conservatories and hospitals as well as the first truly modern flushing lavatory. He is considered to have been ‘one of the finest minds of his generation’.

Information from Derby Evening Telegraph and www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk

 

Comments

  •  

    Oli July 22nd, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Lucy! Have you seen Jenny Uglow’s book called ‘The Lunar Men’ (2002)? Might be of interest …
    Oli.

  •  

    Lucy Veale July 24th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    No I hadn’t seen ‘The Lunar Men’ so thanks for the comment! Lots of new literature to catch up on….

  •  

    rosamund July 30th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    the lunar men charts a fascinating time in intellectual enquiry and jenny uglow writes so well. this barometer made me realise now little I know about the scientific instruments of the time. perhaps i can make time to learn more ….

 

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