The Detroit Post
Tuesday, 02 March, 2021

Do Weather Globes Really Work

author
Brent Mccoy
• Friday, 04 December, 2020
• 8 min read

We wanted to answer the most common questions surrounding storm glasses, and explain why it is likely that they do not work as well as some may claim. Our team of editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you navigate when shopping online.

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Contents

They would eventually rise in popularity in the mid-1800s after British Naval Officer Admiral Robert Fitzroy used them aboard the HMS Beagle, which also happened to host a young Charles Darwin doing his initial research on evolution. Admiral Fitzroy was a weather enthusiast, and over the course of his expeditions, he examined the behavior of a storm glass to better understand how it worked.

The relationship between the liquid’s behavior and the corresponding weather conditions used today derive from Fitzroy’s work aboard the Beagle. Storm glasses fell out of favor late in the 19th Century as mercury barometers became more affordable.

Even today we do not entirely understand how these devices work, or how the crystals inside form and change shape. The version of the weather glass used in Fitzroy’s time was not completely sealed (typically by only a rubber cap) so pressure changes may have had some kind of effect.

While research is slim on the storm glass (even when they were more commonly used), several studies over the years seem to suggest crystal growth is affected by temperature more than anything. Our opinion is that storm glasses should not be relied upon as a legitimate weather instrument but more of a conversation piece for your office or coffee table.

If you’re searching for a functional and decorative weather instrument that is reasonably accurate, we recommend a Galileo thermometer. As we mentioned earlier, Robert Fitzroy popularized the current method to read a storm glass.

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They should also not be placed in a window that receives direct sunlight, or somewhere that may experience sudden temperatures changes during the day. Most of the chemicals used to produce the liquid inside a storm glass are potentially hazardous.

To help you decide on the best storm glass to buy, we’ve reviewed three separate models on Amazon that we think are worth considering. It has received solid reviews across the board, although, as we’ve mentioned above, don’t expect the predictions to be accurate from any storm glass.

Unlike some other models, it is visually appealing enough to sit on your countertop to accent your other decor rather than being the focal point. It combines a storm glass with a Galileo thermometer encased in a wooden holder with a mahogany finish.

It’s no more expensive than the Eon Concepts storm glass and generally gets good reviews from buyers. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper version of the Eon Concepts model, Cavalry Mercantile’s storm glass is a good alternative.

We think this makes the Cavalry Mercantile storm glass stand out more, and might be a better option if you have other dark wood pieces throughout your home. However, if you keep this in mind, and are a weather enthusiast (or know somebody who is), a storm glass will be a great conversation piece or gift.

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First introduced during the 18th century by Admiral Robert Fitzroy, a storm glass is designed to predict the weather while also serving as a decorative piece. It is said that Captain Robert Fitzroy, as mentioned above, developed the storm glass while navigating the world with Charles Darwin in the 1850s.

Thus, the first weather predicting device to incorporate the concepts of temperature, pressure, and humidity was born. The special mixture within will create different formations depending on a number of environmental factors.

These varying formations are then interpreted in order to predict the upcoming weather conditions. The mixture is usually made of ethanol, distilled water, ammonium chloride, potassium nitrate, and camphor.

Simply put, weather predicting storm glasses are a perfect combination of functionality and elegance. Visit the website to see detailed information about the product, such as the design, features, materials, and prices.

To help customers find the best weather predicting storm glass, I’ve made a review of the top five products I have tried myself. The following studies include extensive research of why I am recommending these storm glasses and what was my ultimate choice among the list.

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The Eon Storm Glass is handcrafted and comes with a brilliant LED wooden base, making it a decorative centerpiece for homes and offices. Furthermore, this storm glass contains a high concentration of chemical mixture and forms gorgeous crystals as a result.

It comes in small, medium, and large, each with a brilliant LED wooden platform that changes in colors when the white button is pressed. With a wide array of options, it’s more enjoying to shop for weather predicting storm glasses online.

Although the Accurate 00795A2 isn’t the most precise tool for measuring temperature and pressure, it does provide a close approximation. Moreover, since this device was invented by Galileo, it would make a perfect gift for a historian or anyone interested in mathematics, science or philosophy.

Not only is its diamond shape appealing in its own right, but it also reflects light differently than standard teardrop storm glasses do. This clever design will create all sort of shapes when light is shining on it, a sure way to add ambience to a room.

What better way to predict the weather and add some glimmer to your home than with this elegant piece, which also comes with a gift bag. The main difference between this model and the Accurate 00795A2 (above) is the addition of the analog hydrometer and a slightly smaller thermometer and barometer.

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With its unique design, Lily’s Home Desktop Weather Station can be placed where other storm glasses might be ill-suited. Furthermore, the vertical design of the storm glass alongside the Galileo thermometer gives this beautifully crafted piece the element of symmetry.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this model, however, is that it combines 2 different technologies from antiquity: the storm glass of Admiral Fitzroy the buoyancy thermometer of Galileo. This is probably the only device you can get that joins these two historical figures that lived during different times, yet both contributed immensely to the body of knowledge that we now rely on today.

Here is yet another version of this model that also includes a quartz clock and an analog hydrometer, the former of which was invented by Warren Harrison and J. W. Horton and the latter by William Nicholson. If you’re gifting a weather predicting storm glass to somebody, then it’s not necessarily the price tag that should determine which one to choose.

Hammer Schemer sells one and says, “Although how it functions remains a mystery, the ability of the storm glass to predict atmospheric change is well documented.” Does it work ? The idea is that the mixture is so finely balanced that minor fluctuations in atmospheric conditions will change the solubility of the chemicals and produce a wide variety of crystal shapes, from tiny floating flakes to large masses of feathery fans.

Early theories held that the chemical blend inside was sensitive to light, heat, wind, atmospheric pressure, or even electrical charge. In some glasses the contents were exposed to atmospheric pressure via a flexible rubber cap, but other models were hermetically sealed.

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Interest in storm glasses crested in the 1860s, when such scientific notables as Michael Faraday, Robert Fitzroy, and Charles Tomlinson investigated their properties. Fitzroy, meteorologist and captain of HMS Beagle (of Charles Darwin fame), touted the glasses’ accuracy in his Weather Book of 1863.

Tomlinson, on the other hand, tested a glass for several months and found it was sensitive only to heat, calling it a “rude thermoscope.” Japanese research from 2008 backs this up, pointing to temperature change as the sole cause of crystal growth. A hitch: initially no scientific supply house would ship the goods to a private residence, doubtless seeing in the ominous-sounding chemicals the ingredients of a terrorist plot.

Toiling late one night at Straight Dope Labs, RNA and Sierra made six storm glasses. Each consisted of a big test tube filled with the precisely measured chemical mixture, then capped.

But after a few days the initial crystal growth settled to the bottom of the tubes, leaving the liquid above clear. Every day for 12 weeks, RNA and Sierra recorded local weather conditions plus their observations of the crystals in each glass.

As it's shaping up to be my final days in Devon, me and my #1 Nerd travelled to Barometer World, a pilgrimage we'd been promising to make since the start of summer. As the name suggests, it's a Mecca of meteorological wonder, boasting hundreds of aneroid and mercury barometers, paragraphs, thermometers, hygrometers and thunder bottles.

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A mixture of chemicals in a sealed glass tube present a liquid that shifts from solid to crystalline under circumstances that still aren't full understood. The clipper Royal Charter, on her way from Melbourne and packed with returning gold miners, was sunk with the loss of 459 lives, as were some 200 other ships.

In response, Fitzroy pushed for the establishment of weather stations around the nation's coasts to monitor atmospheric conditions. The first weather forecasts published in the pages of the Times in 1860, and a system of flying cones in fishing ports to warn sailors of approaching gales developed the following year.

Originally, the owners of fishing fleets objected to the system, as it meant boats were more likely to stay in port, but the fishermen themselves welcomed it, and Fitzroy is credited with saving untold lives. One of the areas covered in the Shipping Forecast, a stretch of ocean north-west of Spain, is designated Fitzroy in honor of the man.

Sadly, having secretly exhausted his entire fortune in the drive to build a better weather prediction system, and battling with depression, Fitzroy committed suicide in 1863. The fluid consists of a mix of camphor crystals, potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, water and alcohol.

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