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H10038 Anemometer, Robinson's anemometer, metal / wood / paper, made by J Hicks, London, England, 1875-1885 used by Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Click to enlarge.

A hand held Robinson’s anemometer

Made by Hicks, J. J. in London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom, Europe, circa 1880.
This is a fine example of a traveller's anemometer which was used for measuring the force of wind. Larger versions were attached to meteorological stations but this one was designed to be taken into the field.

Robinson anemometers are made up of four hemispherical cups whose open faces are exposed to currents of air. The rotation of the cups was found by Dr. Robinson to be one-third of the winds velocity and this is recorded by the dial attached to an endless winding screw. The whole is made more portable by the fact that the cups can be easily removed.

This object was made by the instrument maker J. Hicks of 8 Hatton Garden, London. While acquired by Sydney Observatory it was lent sometime in the late 1800s to the meteorological station at Lismore where it remained until 1906 when it was returned.

This instrument remains significant due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with Australia's earliest astronomers. It is also significant for its association with nineteenth century meteorological instruments and instrument makers.

Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, March 2007

Casella, L., An Illustrated descriptive Catalogue of Surveying, Philosophical, Mathematical, Optical, photographic and Standard Meteorological Instruments, D. Lane, Steam Printer, 310 Strand, London, 1871


Object No.


Object Statement

Anemometer, Robinson's anemometer, metal / wood / paper, made by J Hicks, London, England, 1875-1885 used by Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Physical Description

Hand-held anemometer with four hollow hemispherical cups fixed to rotating cross arms that are mouted on a flat, paddle-shaped wooden base. The original timer is missing and has been replaced by an egg timer consisting of a metal disc with a single hand fixed to the centre of the disc and numbers engraved around its circumference from '10' to '60'. The timer is attached to the base with wire. A note accompnaies the anemometer.

Sydney Observatory Stock Number 238



Made by J Hicks, 8 Hatton Gordon, London, England between 1875 and 1885. The original timer is missing, and has been replaced by an egg timer, attached to the base with wire.



The anemometer was lent by the Sydney Observatory to a meteorological station at Lismore. It was returned to the Sydney Observatory on 21st July, 1906. Used to measure wind speed (information taken from the blue file).


Credit Line

Ex Sydney Observatory, 1983

Acquisition Date

25 November 1983

Cite this Object


A hand held Robinson's anemometer 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 July 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=A hand held Robinson's anemometer |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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