MERCURY RISING! Rare Victorian thermometer made in Birmingham to go under the hammer.
Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
IT'S the antique thaT'S has raised tempera tures among collec tors of Victorian scientific instruments. And an auctioneer is prdicting brisk business when this extremely rare, Birming ham-made thermometer - crafted from silver and ivory - goes under the hammer on Wednesday.
Locksdales of Martlesham, Suffolk, came across the item during a valuation day.
It is unusual for such frag ile items to survive the rig ours of time.
Chris Elmy, of Locksdales, said: "It's a very fine example, but you've got to take care of it because it contains mercu ry.
"As long as you keep it upright, it's fine."
Auction manager James Sadler said: "This is a highly unusual and extremely attractive thermometer."
He added: "It's of a type that rarely comes up for sale."
The 16.5cm thermometer was made in 1841 by silver smith James Wintle and the mechanism is surrounded by four corinthian style col umns, raised on a platform with feet.
Locksdales estimate it will fetch around PS180, but over seas phone bidders may push up the price considerably.
As rare as it is, in terms of value, the piece lags behind the world's rarest thermom eter.
That was made by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, who invented the mercury ther mometer, and was given a PS100,000 price tag in 2012.
Fahrenheit presented his invention to the world in 1714 and the piece is believed to be one of his first.
It is signed "Fahrenheit Amst" - a reference to the time the inventor worked in Amsterdam.
Expert James Hyslop, from auctioneers Christie's, said: "It is only 4.5 inches long and is made of brass and has the Fahrenheit scale down the sides.
"The mercury tube is not the original and has been replaced, but it was clearly designed so the tubes could be taken out.
"It was a thermometer for scientific purposes, perhaps for measuring the tempera ture of liquids."
This is a highly unusual and extremely attractive thermometer
The 1841 silver and ivory thermometer |