[wxqc] Mercury Barometer

Victor Engel brillig at gmail.com
Wed Dec 17 11:49:46 CST 2008


I recall a photograph in Natural Geographic of a man sitting on a vat of
mercury. I just googled and found this:

http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Images/MercuryMiner.JPG

Not sure if it's the same picture.

Mercury used to be used in gold mining because gold dissolves in mercury. I
think the process was to boil off the mercury leaving gold behind. That,
obviously, would be extremely dangerous, releasing vast quantities of
mercury vapor into the air.

Victor

On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 10:40 AM, Jim Crumly <jimwc at frontiernet.net> wrote:

>  Victor
>
> I believe the tube we used was about 36" long.  The process gave us the
> process of heating the glass tube to seal it as well as how a barometer is
> made and yes we did measure the pressure every day.
>
> I don't remember how accurate it was but it was a learning experience and
> may have sparked an interest in weather observation.   I was the one doing
> the dunking of the tub in the bowl and I remember watching the level of the
> mercury in the bowl coming up to just below the rim of the bowel and
> wondering if it would overflow it didn't but was close.   I believe I have
> more problems from "Agent Orange" than the mercury. I think we are showing
> off our age here.
>
> Jim
>
> CW4367
>
>
>
> *From:* wxqc-bounces at lists.gladstonefamily.net [mailto:
> wxqc-bounces at lists.gladstonefamily.net] *On Behalf Of *Victor Engel
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:05 AM
>
> *To:* Discussion of weather data quality issues
> *Subject:* Re: [wxqc] Mercury Barometer
>
>
>
> We used the same method in grade school. The difference was that the tube
> we used was list a test tube, only longer, so already sealed.
>
> That barometer stayed as a permanent fixture in the science room.
>
> Victor
>
> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 10:00 AM, Jim Crumly <jimwc at frontiernet.net>
> wrote:
>
> Victor & A.J.
>
> I remember making a barometer in science class ether Jr. high or freshman
> High School. (early 60's anyway) we used a long glass tube filled with
> mercury  a small bowl  of mercury and a ruler.
>
> The process was to seal one end of the glass tube then fill it with mercury
> then fill the bowl about half full then (oh my god) place your finger over
> the open end of the tube and immerse it in the bowl and release it letting
> the mercury seek the correct level for the pressure. And yes it did measure
> the barometric pressure with a ruler set beside the tube.
>
>
>
> Jim
>
> CW4367
>
>
>
> *From:* wxqc-bounces at lists.gladstonefamily.net [mailto:
> wxqc-bounces at lists.gladstonefamily.net] *On Behalf Of *Victor Engel
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 17, 2008 7:57 AM
>
>
> *To:* Discussion of weather data quality issues
> *Subject:* Re: [wxqc] Mercury Barometer
>
>
>
> I just got an email from Jim Mulhern at Medford Clock and Barometer, who
> says he still makes Princo barometers.
>
> Victor
>
> On 12/15/08, *Victor Engel* <brillig at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Have you tried Medford Clock and Barometer? Maybe you can get an antique
> one there:
>
> http://www.medfordclock.com/barometer/antique.htm
>
> On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 12:15 PM, A.J deLange <ajdel at cox.net> wrote:
>
> You can forget my suggestion about buying a mercury barometer. Apparently
> you can't because the only manufacturer (of which I am aware i.e. Princo)
>  stopped making them over a year ago citing  increasing regulations
> concerning mercury. The lawyers, politicians and tree huggers have done us
> in, folks. The cancer is metastatic. But we let it happen.
>
> Does anyone know of another source for these dangerous instruments (which
> used to hang in the chemistry lab in every high school in this once sensible
> country)?
>
> A.J.
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