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The Diary of a Barograph

Having collected barographs for over 60 years I’ve always felt that it’s such a shame these lovely instruments don’t come with a logbook shedding at least a little light on their past. Many I have acquired are well over 120 years old and simply have no record of where they’ve spent their life.

I can imagine that when these instruments were new, they were displayed in a prominent position in the home, office, private club, or public place. The chart would ceremoniously be removed and studied at a regular time each week and the new one fitted.

Occasionally the completed charts would be dated, and any extreme weather events of the week would be noted against the day and stored in the chart drawer. The most memorable ones I have seen include the drought of March 1953, the start of the severe winter from late December 1962, and, of course, the great storm of October 1987. Not weather related, but I have a barograph with an actual recording of the undersea volcano in the Tongan archipelago in January 2022– it showed up on the instrument as a significant ‘blip’ then repeated, albeit slightly less pronounced, about six hours later as the aftershock reverberated around the world again.

Once in a while there have been comments on global events such as the weather from 1st September 1939 with a handwritten note announcing the declaration of World War 2.

Probably the most continuous record of ownership and certainly the most poignant is the barograph I acquired in the 1990s. It has an engraved plaque to a Lt Colonel in 1924 then later shipped to SE Asia where the regiment was involved in the defence of Singapore at the start of the Second World War. When the situation deteriorated and to avoid detection by the Japanese army the barograph was buried, along with all the regimental silver, within the grounds of Gillman Barracks and was not dug up until well after the war.

All this fascinating provenance is documented in a letter which accompanies the instrument and pictures can be viewed on my website.

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Eifion Breeze
Eifion Breeze
Sep 07, 2023

I like your blog, Richard. With regard to "logbooks" for barographs is it too late to start with your instruments? In the future, the fact that an instrument was sold by Richard Twort is sure to be of interest. Designing a logbook might be challenging!



Apr 16
Replying to

Agreed with Eifion



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