Maybe Admiral Fitzroy was right after all?

Arthur Beale’s stock a very satisfyingly heavy and well-polished brass object of desire, known as a Storm Glass. It is the kind of object you may buy as a gift for the person who already has a barometer and a barograph. Mind you, those scientifically minded people probably wouldn’t buy one for themselves as they would not accept that gazing into crystals can be of any use in forecasting the weather. Nevertheless they look rather splendid and very nautical hanging from their smart bracket.

However a recent article in the New Scientist by David Hambling suggests that there may be some truth in Admiral Fitzroy’s belief that the crystals are affected by electromagnetic fields in the ionosphere. Apparently Edward Baranovsky and his team at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory have gathered daily data from the crystals since 1995. They say that the crystals in separate storm glasses behave in the same way even when 2,500 km apart. They believe the electromagnetic fields in the ionosphere may be the cause – just as Admiral Fitzroy believed.

In 2008, Allan Mills at Leicester University together with researchers in Meiji University in Kawasaki found that the original chemical mix in the Storm Glass was perfectly engineered to give optimum range of growth of the crystals. Those old alchemists got it spot on. They found the crystals were not only affected by temperature but had a memory and would react differently at the same temperature if the temperature history was different. This would give rise to the glass perhaps showing a certain crystal formation at the onset of a cold front.

Arthur Beale’s have one hanging on the right hand side of our window. When you next pass the shop why not have a look at the forecast written on our bill board and then check the Storm Glass to see if you can spot a trend. I will try to get some photos posted together with the shipping forecast so those who can’t get to the shop can have a look. Alternatively why not buy one for yourself and see if you can crack the mystery.

Storm Glass £97.66 including VAT
Bracket to wall hang the Storm Glass £20.27 including VAT