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H9970 Barograph, aneroid barometer, wood / glass / metal / paper, made by Short and Mason Ltd, London, England, 1875-1900, used at Sydney Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 1875-1948. Click to enlarge.

Aneroid barometer made by Short and Mason

Made by Short and Mason Ltd in London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom, Europe, 1855-1900.
This particular barograph was used at Sydney Observatory in the late 1800s. The observatory used barometers at its Sydney location and at weather stations throughout country New South Wales to track storm systems . Data from the barometer measurements were collated and analysed by the observatory's astronomers. These observations allowed the astronomers to predict storm systems and movement in Sydney and to the west of the Blue Mountains.

Australia's weather was a mystery to its early colonists, and instruments such as this barograph were used to measure atmospheric pressure and make weather forecasts for Sydney and its surrounds. Barographs were designed for use by the general public in libraries and reading rooms of clubs, as well as meteorological observers.

The ability to forecast the weather was an important feature of the observatory's work. This barograph remains of national significance 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.

H. C. Russell, Scientific papers, Notes on some recent barometric disturbances, 1877 [read before the Royal Society of NSW, 5 December 1877]

Written by Erika Dicker, Assistant Curator, November 2007.


Object No.


Object Statement

Barograph, aneroid barometer, wood / glass / metal / paper, made by Short and Mason Ltd, London, England, 1875-1900, used at Sydney Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 1875-1948

Physical Description

An aneroid barometer sitting on timber base with a removable glass lid. The barometer consists of a vertical recording drum that has a paper chart wrapped around it for recording one weeks worth of readings. Next to the drum are the brass parts of the pressure sensing mechanism with a long lever reaching to the recording drum.


Handwritten in pencil on the chart '15 / March 1948'. A small white plate screwed to the wooden base reads 'SHORT & MASON LTD / LONDON'. Patent number engraved on one metal component of barograph, 'PAT. NO. 2256'.



187 mm


320 mm


176 mm



Short and Mason Ltd was established by Thomas Short and James Mason in London, 1875. The business was located at 40 Hatton Gardens, London and produced precision measuring instruments including barometers, anemometers, and compasses.

Short and Mason Pty Ltd were leaders in the field of barograph design. In 1904 they patented a barograph, called a Cyclo-stormograph, in which the vacuum chamber and the first link are housed underneath the base plates. They pioneered the theory that a storm forecast could be made from just observing the air pressure and whether it was rising or falling. Short and Mason obtained a copyright for this forecast in 1921.

Short and Mason was acquired by Taylor Scientific Instruments in the early 1900s.

Edwin Banfield, Barometers: Aneroid and Barographs, Baros Books, England, 1985



Humans have always relied on predicting the weather for comfort, food, and general well-being. As human intelligence evolved, more sophisticated means were used to forecast weather patterns. Instrumental meteorological observations began in the early 17th century with the invention of the thermometer by Galileo Galilei, shortly after 1600.

The invention of the barometer is credited to Evangelista Torricelli, in 1643 . He experimented with mercury in a vacuum, which allowed him to measure atmospheric pressure. The changes in atmospheric pressure were indicative of future changes in the weather, thus the barometer became an invaluable tool in weather forecasting. The aneroid barometer was developed by Lucien Vidie in the 1840s.

The barograph is an instrument that records the readings from an aneroid barometer on a graph using a pen like attachment. The first aneroid barometer barographs were made in France in 1867.

This particular barograph was used to record meteorological observations at Sydney Observatory for a period in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

N. Goodison, English Barometers 1680-1860-A history of domestic barometers and their makers, Cassell Ltd, London, 1969.
Edwin Banfield, Barometers: Aneroid and Barographs, Baros Books, England, 1985


Credit Line

Ex Sydney Obsveratory stock, 1983

Acquisition Date

29 July 1983

Cite this Object


Aneroid barometer made by Short and Mason 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Aneroid barometer made by Short and Mason |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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