19th century American ship's barometer
signed John Hayden, Bath, Maine
This is an American-made ship's barometer, rather than an English import signed by an American seller. The case is rosewood veneered over poplar, probably sourced from a casemaker further south, likely New York. The scales are engraved ivory, and the "CHANGE" weather indication is in a format usually limited to American barometers. The Fahrenheit thermometer is also on an ivory plate, and the temperature indications are limited to just Freezing at 32 degrees, also typical of American marine barometers.
The original condition of the barometer is well preserved - the finish is very old and probably original, being quite worn in places. The case is sound and with minimal evidence of any repair. The ivory scales are all intact and readable with little or no staining. The mercury system has a very old ship's style cistern, possibly an original, and an incorrect replacement mercury tube has now been replaced with a proper marine tube. The brass mounting gimbal is an old reproduction, not the original.
Conservation/restoration is limited to cleaning and waxing the case, cleaning the brass and ivory, and replacing the mercury tube. The instrument is fully functional.
John Hayden (1808-approx. 1892), born in the US, was a descendant of Scottish immigrants, and spent most of his adult life as owner of a jewelry business in Bath. He married Martha Ann Brown in 1831. Hayden served as a state representative in 1850, 1863, and 1865, and was elected mayor of Bath in 1866. Watches signed by him are known; one is now in the collection of the Maine State Museum. It was not unusual for jewelers to sell "instruments of an optical nature", and a ship's barometer sold in the heart of the ship building area of Maine would certainly be stock in trade for Mr. Hayden. There are probably other clocks, watches, and instruments out there with his name on them, although it is unlikely he actually manufactured any of them.
Charles Edwin Inc.
By Appointment in Central Virginia, USA.
P.O. Box 1340
Louisa, VA 23093-1340
Tel: +1 (540) 967-0416
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