Charles Wilder of Peterborough, New Hampshire. A mahogany case stick barometer.
This stick barometer is American made. It was made by Charles Wilder of Peterborough, New Hampshire.
This wall barometer made by Charles Wilder and is considered by us to be his standard stick form. The case is constructed in mahogany and retians an older finish. The case is designed to protect the straight line barometer tube and cast iron cistern which is installed inside the length of the case. A vernier or marking slide is fitted to the engraved brass faceplate to the right of the tube which is centered in the case. This faceplate is also die-stamped, "C. WILDER / PETERBORO, / N.H., " and "WOODRUFF’S PAT., JUNE 5, 1860." The faceplate on the left is fitted with a mercury thermometer. "BLOOD HEAT / SUMR / HEAT / TEMPE HEAT / AND FREEZ / ING" are markers on the thermometer along with numerical values. It is also interesting to note that this very barometer was made "FOR / BUSTER & GRIFFITH / BALTIMORE" and is so die stamped in the lower left of this temperature plate. This is very interesting in that it suggests that Wilder had commercial clients. According to the Woods Baltimore City Directory of 1865-1866, BRUSTER & GRIFFITH, (James Bruster, John M. Griffith,) are listed as manufacturers of Buck-eye mowers and reapers, as well as other agricultural implements. Their shop was located at 49 N Paca in Baltimore. Both brass plates are treated with a silver wash. This instrument is complete and currently working. It was made circa 1865. Overall, this barometer measures approximation 37 inches long.
About Charles Wilder of Peterborough, New Hampshire. An American barometer maker.
Charles Wilder was born the son of Mark and Eliza Ann ( Thayer ) Wilder. He attended the common schools and the Academy in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He became a popular teacher at the Academy and later the Principal. He had planned to continue his education and become a lawyer but his Fathers debts forced him into the family business of shoe pegs. He pursued this business for two years when in 1860 he secured the rights to manufacture portable mercury barometers under the patent issued to a Mr. Lum Woodruff of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lum Woodruff reported weather observations to the Smithsonian Institution. He patented a portable barometer that proved to be extremely popular. Its key feature was a divided cistern. It was constructed so that when the glass tube was full of mercury, the lower portion of the cistern would be as well. As a result, it could be shut off from the now empty upper portion. In the fall of 1861, Charles Wilder converted an old factory in Peterborough into a barometer shop. He began touting the virtues of Woodruff’s instrument. He claimed that it was “simple, durable, accurate, perfectly portable, and very cheap,” and also “a very beautiful and ornamental piece of furniture.” It promised farmers a five percent savings on all their crops. For scientific men it offered “superior accuracy.” And for “gentlemen of leisure and cultivation” it offered a “never ending and constantly varying study of interest.” All three of Wilder’s standard barometer designs had a natural position and use for a thermometer. His scale in Fahrenheit ranged from 0 to 110 degrees. Wilder Barometers were sold throughout the United States by advertising through the leading agricultural periodicals of the day. As a successful businessman and prominent citizen he was an active member and supporter of his Church. He served as a representative to the state legislature in 1869 and 1870 and was also a town moderator in 1869. He died in 1900. The business continued for a short time until it was sold to the W. & L. E. Gurley Instrument Company of Troy, New York. (Most of this info was provided from the Peterborough, New Hampshire Historical Society.)
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