Barometers are used to forecast the weather by measuring changes in atmospheric pressure. Their mechanism is very delicate and can include a long glass tube containing mercury and often a fine hair, thin piece of paper or chamois leather. Barometers should be handled with care, avoiding sudden jolts, and kept upright at all times, particularly mercury barometers as the mercury may separate into sections that are difficult to join together again. Do not attempt to repair the mechanism of a barometer, but ask LAPADA to help you find a specialist restorer.
Clean the wood as you would furniture, not overdoing the amount of polish used. Be careful not to get cleaning materials into the mechanism. Do not clean the glass with commercial glass cleaners as the chemicals they contain will harm the metal and wood. Polish with a clean, soft, dry chamois leather. A damp cotton wool bud can be used to remove marks but take great care not to get the glass wet as water must not get behind it. Do not attempt to clean the dial. Barometer cases are often decorated with ivory, mother of pearl, marquetry or metal inlay. Check the wood for cracking, woodworm, missing or rising veneer or loose inlay and treat in the same way as you would furniture or seek a professional restorer.
Barometers are usually designed to hang on a wall. Make sure that the fixing is strong enough and that the wall is solid and in good condition. If it is to be hung on a partition wall, use fixings specifically designed for hollow walls to prevent the barometer pulling itself off. Avoid hanging a barometer on an outside wall which may be damp. Find a position where it will not get knocked as people pass by and do not display in direct sunlight or near a direct source of heat.
Store barometers upright in a clean, dry room, making sure there is no danger of them falling over. If possible, hang them on a dry wall out of harm's way. Do not store in an attic or loft where the temperature fluctuates wildly, nor in a damp basement. Protect from dust by wrapping barometers loosely in acid-free tissue, calico or an old, clean sheet. Do not leave them wrapped tightly in a lot of padding as this will absorb damp which will affect the barometer and do not wrap in sealed polythene. For longterm storage, or if a mercury barometer has to be moved any distance, remove the glass container with the mercury if at all possible and store or move it separately. If it is not possible to remove the container when moving, pack the barometer securely in an upright position in a sturdy box.