This is an original Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder, it’s an unusual meteorological instrument that uses a glass or crystal ball to measure the duration of sunshine each day.
It was originally invented by in 1853 by the scholar John Francis Campbell, his original design used a crystal ball to burn a line along a wooden bowl. In 1879 the renowned physicist Sir George Stokes improved the design by giving it a metal housing and using interchangeable cards marked to allow easy reading.
Amazingly there are Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorders still being used around the world today for meteorological readings. There are more accurate electronic instruments that can be used, however in remote places with no electricity the simplicity of the original Campbell design and its solar powered operation make it hard to beat.
The example you see here was manufactured by Negretti & Zambra in London, England in the late 1800s. It’s is engraved with the markings LAT 45′ -65′, it has a glass sphere, brass construction, and it’s mounted on a tripod base with leveling screws.
It comes with a collection of recording cards, it measures in at 9 1/2 inches (24 cm) high, and it’ll be crossing the auction block with Bonhams on the 28th of September in London with a price guide of £500 – £800, or approximately $541 – $865 USD.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
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