Couple restore antique mercury barometers


November 04, 1990|By Anita Gold | Anita Gold,Chicago Tribune

Q: Where can we find information on antique barometers? Also, where can we find a source or craftsman who can restore such a piece?

A: Charles and Jill Probst deal in fine antique mercury barometers and properly restore and ship such pieces. Write them at Charles Edwin Inc., Fine Antique Clocks & Barometers, Box 1340, Louisa, Va. 23093; phone (703) 967-0416. The Probsts offer a fine selection of antique mercury barometers.

Antique mercury barometers usually measure from 3 1/2 feet to 4 feet tall, and those made after 1850 are, for the most part, not signed with a maker's name. American mercury barometers made around 1800 by Simon Willard are rare, whereas any

American examples made before 1800 are extremely rare.

Books on barometers include "Antique Barometers: An Illustrated Survey," by E. Banfield, $15.50 postpaid; "Barometers," by B. Bolls, $41 postpaid; "English Barometers 1680-1860," by N. Goodison, $61 postpaid; and "Barometers: Stick or Cistern Tube," by E. Banfield, $27.45 postpaid. All are available from the Arlington Book Co., 2706 Elsmore St., Fairfax, Va. 22031- 1409; phone (703) 280-5300. Send $1 for a catalog of books relating to barometers, clocks, watches, jewelry, tools and music boxes.

Q: My husband was a farmer (now retired) who has an interest in corn-related items and implements. Where can he find information on such pieces?

A: The Corn Items Collectors offers an annual membership and quarterly newsletter for $10 from its secretary/treasurer, E. Eloise Alton, Route 3, Box 39A, Shelbyville, Ill. 62565.

Q: I collect old Sunbeam appliances, such as toasters, mixers, coffee makers, etc. Is there a kitchen appliance collectors association?

A: Numerous collectors and "appreciators" of old electrical appliances belong to the Electric Breakfast Club, Box 306, White Mills, Pa. 18473-0306. You may write for membership information or to contact collectors. The Sunbeam Corp. of Chicago and Toronto started as the Chicago Flexible Shaft Co. in 1897, but the Sunbeam trade name was not used on its products until 1921. It wasn't until 1946 that the company's name was changed to the Sunbeam Corp. Most collectors of old electrical appliances collect stylish examples produced by all companies rather than by a particular firm.

Q: I am interested in old rocking horses.

A: A newly revised edition of the book "Rocking Horses," by VTC Marguerite Fawdry, is available for $26.95 postpaid from Seven Hills Book Distributors, 49 Central Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; call (800) 545- 2005 to order. It contains rocking horse makers, restoration information and a chapter on American rocking horses.

Anita Gold can be reached by writing Anita Gold, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278. Selected questions will appear in her column. The volume of mail makes individual replies impossible. When writing sources listed in this column, enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for replies.

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