Accession No

5814


Brief Description

hair hygrometer, Lambrecht's hygienischer rathgeber, by Wilhelm Lambrecht, German, 1896


Origin

Germany; Göttingen


Maker

Lambrecht, Wilhelm D. R. P. a Gesch. d. Ges


Class

meteorology


Earliest Date

Jan. 1, 1896


Latest Date

Dec. 31, 1896


Inscription Date


Material

wood (oak); paper; metal (brass, tinplate)


Dimensions

length 114mm; width 114mm; height 33mm


Special Collection


Provenance

Purchased from Christie’s Auction House, 85 Old Brompton Road, London on 07/12/2000. Lot 2, sale MSI 8976, "Scientific and Engineering Works of Art, Medical Instruments and Models".


Inscription

signed and dated D.R.P.a Gesch. d. Ges. v. 1. Juli 1896

[Translation of wording on reverse:
“The instrument should be hung away from a warm stove (a heater). The hygenic indicator can only be used indoors. There is also a meteorological advisor for use outdoors, to see the coming weather and the hygenic influence of the outside air. A leaflet about this instrument is available.
Lambrecht’s Polymeter can be referred to as a standard instrument but the Hygenic Advisor can be tested without it, in fog, during persistent rain, or in a steamy kitchen the reading should be 95%. At other times the hairs can be dampled by stroking with a pigeon’s feather, which should bring the pointer to 95%, if not, the pointer can be adjusted to that value by a screw adjustment.

Should the hairs be broken, a new bundle is obtainable from my agents

The following publications explainthe hygenic importance of atmospheric humidity:
Dr Fleischer, ‘Healthy air’, 5th edition.
Dr Wurster, ‘Temperature of the human skin and its relation to cold and catarrh.
Ditto ‘Humidity of clothes and clothing’
Troska, ‘Forecasting weather with the hygrometer’.
‘Lambrecht’s small weather station’ which does not need prior knowledge.

All these items can be bought at Wilhelm Lambrecht, Göttingen or through his agents.”]


Description Notes

Hair hygrometer, Lambrecht's hygienischer rathgeber [nb: rathgeber = indicator], C19th (c).

Hair hygrometer mounted on decorated board (lithographic paper card) illustrating its function as a medical aid. The needle with fine hair membrane detached at one end, the scale with needle enclosed within a lithographed tinplate balustrade border, mounted on an oak plinth base, the underside with maker's instruction leaflet, signed Wilh. Lambrecht.

[Translation of wording on reverse:
“The instrument should be hung away from a warm stove (a heater). The hygenic indicator can only be used indoors. There is also a meteorological advisor for use outdoors, to see the coming weather and the hygenic influence of the outside air. A leaflet about this instrument is available.
Lambrecht’s Polymeter can be referred to as a standard instrument but the Hygenic Advisor can be tested without it, in fog, during persistent rain, or in a steamy kitchen the reading should be 95%. At other times the hairs can be dampled by stroking with a pigeon’s feather, which should bring the pointer to 95%, if not, the pointer can be adjusted to that value by a screw adjustment.

Should the hairs be broken, a new bundle is obtainable from my agents

The following publications explain the hygenic importance of atmospheric humidity:
Dr Fleischer, ‘Healthy air’, 5th edition.
Dr Wurster, ‘Temperature of the human skin and its relation to cold and catarrh.
Ditto ‘Humidity of clothes and clothing’
Troska, ‘Forecasting weather with the hygrometer’.
‘Lambrecht’s small weather station’ which does not need prior knowledge.

All these items can be bought at Wilhelm Lambrecht, Göttingen or through his agents.”]


References

Allison Ksiazkiewicz; 'Measuring Air Humidity'; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge: https://www.whipplemuseum.cam.ac.uk/explore-whipple-collections/meteorology/measuring-air-humidity


Events

Description
This decorative hair hygrometer indicates the relative humidity of the atmosphere. It relies on the fact that human hair contracts in dry weather and relaxes when damp. Here a bundle of hairs, suspended at the apex of the board and weighted by the brass bob, is geared to drive the pointer. The hairs in this example have become detached over the years.

The wording on the backboard announces that the hygrometer was intended for indoor use. It could be calibrated against a Lambrecht’s Polymeter (a scientific hygrometer). Alternatively, the hairs could be dampened by stroking with a wet pigeon’s feather. The pointer should then indicate 95%, and if not, could be adjusted accordingly. Replacement hairs and a leaflet about the instrument were available from the suppliers.

Wilhelm Lambrecht was an instrument maker in Gottingen, Germany, in the mid-19th century. This example is dated 1896.
26/03/2008
Created by: Dr. Anita McConnell on 26/03/2008


FM:46220

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