Object StatementSikes hydrometer, with case, for measuring density of liquids, brass / glass / wood / fabric / bone, made by J J Hicks, 8-10 Haton Garden, London, England, 1885-1899
Physical DescriptionThe Sikes hydrometer is a brass instrument consisting of a thermometer, flotation sphere, two rulers and nine weights, all housed in a wooden case. It was used in conjunction with the book of tables by distillers to determine the strength of spirits by providing the user with alcohol proof, strength and percentages.
The thermometer is made is made up of bone base, engraved on one side with a temperature scale from '30:100" degrees. Mounted on the base using three metal brackets, and running along the scale, is a cylindrical glass tube filled with mercury. A engraving on the right hand side reads, 'T.O. BLAKE (SIKES HYDROMETERS) LTD'.
The flotation sphere is made from brass and consists of a rectangular bar, with graduated scale on both sides, followed by a large spherical ball and a cylindrical tail or stem, which is used to house additional weights when making measurements. The floatation sphere is engraved on the side with, 'No 14642 SIKES P51 degrees'
The wooden case is rectangular and has a brass hinged lid, with two clasps at the front. A cream coloured inlay square is used to decorate the top of the lid, while an inlay plaque in the centre reads, 'SIKES HYDROMETER / J.J. HICKS / 8, 9 & 10 HATON GARDEN / LONDON. ENG.'.The interior of the case is lined with a dark red felt, while the lid's interior is cushioned and lined with a light red silk. The case contains a number of sectioned compartments for each component of the hydrometer and ten small bone knobs in the centre are used to secure the weights and cap.
The two wooden rulers used in conjunction with the device are duplex models each containing three scales and two meal bands on each end. The first is known as the comparative rule, and features 'OVER PROOF' on the obverse side and 'PROOF UNDER PROOF' & 'THERMOMETER SCALE' on the reverse side. The second is the proof rule and has 'PROOF' on both the obverse and reverse sides. Both rules are engraved on the edge with, 'J. J. HICKS 8. 9 & 10 HATON GARDEN LONDON'
The nine weights, described as 'extra masses', for the hydrometer are all donut shaped, with one side cut out for attachment to the spherical bob. Each one varies in size and weight ranging from '90' to '20' and are engraved with the weight amount on the top. Along with the weights the device also has a small cylindrical brass cap with an internal thread.
Accompanying the hydrometer is a brown, leather bound, book containing basic instructions on the use of the Sike's hydrometer, as well as a series of graphs and table to assist with calculating 'concentrated strength' and 'specific gravity' of liquids. The books cover and back is decorated with an imprinted pattern in the corners, and gold lettering in the cover's centre reads, 'HYDROMETER / TABLES'. It is signed on the inside of the cover, 'Allan F Bromley / 23-3-90 / (1990-3)'