Detail of the face of an antique barometer

Advice on caring for antique barometers from the British Antique Dealers' Association.

Mercury Barometers

Mercury expands or contracts according to temperature.

Consequently, antique barometers will be affected by exposure to extreme heat sources.

To retain accuracy, barometers should never be positioned close to a radiator or working fireplace.

It is important to remove any gold or silver jewellery before you handle a mercury barometer.

Mercury combines with precious metals on contact and will result in permanent staining.

Relocating barometers

Barometers are precision scientific instruments. 

Any sudden movement or accidental knocks can damage a barometer's delicate mechanism.

Before moving an antique barometer, consult a BADA specialist for advice on the best method of transit.

When moving mercury barometers, it is essential to keep the instrument in an upright position.

This will prevent sudden movement of the mercury, which can cause the glass tube to shatter.

If you do experience a small mercury spillage, always wear rubber gloves for protection.

Then, use an eyedropper, or pipette, to collect the droplets.

Store the droplets securely in a sealed container and dispose at a council refuse facility that accepts used batteries.

BADA's guide to caring for Antique Barometers

Cleaning antique barometers

General cleaning and dusting of antique barometers can be done with a soft lint free duster.

A soft bristle brush is advisable for more delicate cleaning or accessing hard to reach areas.

Avoid using metal polish for cleaning parts on antique wood mounted barometers. 

Stray drips or spillages can permanently damage your wood's patina. 

Any major cleaning work should always be undertaken by a specialist.

Your local BADA clock dealer will be able to recommend an experienced professional.

To find dealers who specialise in barometers click here

To browse barometers online click here

For advice on caring for antique clocks click here

For BADA recommended specialists in packing and shipping antiques and fine art click here

For advice on insuring barometers click here