Author Topic: Mercury barometers  (Read 216 times)

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Offline DaleReid

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Mercury barometers
« on: July 07, 2017, 07:28:18 PM »
Another very interesting topic posted today shows a link to the oldest weather observatory in constant usage since the 1800s.

A real treat was a series of great photos, the first of which shows an old fashioned mercury column barometer, one of three that they have.

I have a brand new, unused, literally old-school mercury barometer which is the spitting image of one that I recall from our high school science room, which was next to one I really wished I had, the old wooden one that looks like it came over from Beurnoilli.

I have some mercury, but have had some stout opposition from the significant other about setting the thing up. I've been thinking about doing it in the shed, where there is higher chance of an errant piece of something hitting it, but no one around, vs. in the basement where it is much safer, but we live in the house.

I know some think I have breathed mercury too much as a youth, but all kidding aside, we used to coat pennies with it, chase it around the old black-surfaced lab tables and had that barometer in that room, along with an old one in my grade school, too now that I think about it.

I know that hazmat teams in yellow uniforms breathing hosed in air are dispatched at the slightest  hint of a spill.  My doctor's office removed all the good old mercury blood pressure cuffs years ago, but they were in place for generations.

What do people think, or have read about, having a mercury column barometer in action any more?

Just curious. and still strongly tempted...
Dale
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Mercury barometers
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 07:55:21 PM »
Got one right in front of me.  :)  I recall playing with mercury as well.  Dad would bring home jars of it and we kids would play.  LOL

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Mercury barometers
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 08:44:35 PM »
I'm not the brightest kid on the block, but did well in science and earned a good living with my brain, so either I had some to spare was lucky or it isn't quite as bad as some might suggest.  Still don't need to be cavalier about it, but would be cool to have up and running.  One thing is for sure, it is the ultimate accuracy.

Speaking of mercury, I remember visiting a lighthouse, maybe up on the north shore of Lake Superior, where the rotating lamp and Fresnel lens floated on a pool of mercury which made it about as low friction as it could get. I"ll bet it was a hike carrying all that up there to fill the pool for the lens to be suspended like that.

When it got cold enough to freeze, there wouldn't be anyone shipping on the lake anyway.

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Offline CW2274

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Re: Mercury barometers
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 08:53:52 PM »
One thing is for sure, it is the ultimate accuracy.

Speaking of mercury, I remember visiting a lighthouse, maybe up on the north shore of Lake Superior, where the rotating lamp and Fresnel lens floated on a pool of mercury which made it about as low friction as it could get. I"ll bet it was a hike carrying all that up there to fill the pool for the lens to be suspended like that.

When it got cold enough to freeze, there wouldn't be anyone shipping on the lake anyway.
Yes, I believe alcohol thermos liquid would expand and contract unlike mercurial, it was the standard.
Great lighthouse story, had no idea, thank you for sharing!
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