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Storm Glass Buying Gift Guide by Weather Scientific

To Storm Glass? Or not to Storm Glass?

Will your guests know what to make of the mysterious device on your coffee table? 

You might not be surprised to learn the Storm Glass has ancestors in ancient seafaring lore. Early navigators would observe the action of a ship's compass to determine whether they were facing good weather or bad weather, thus allowing them to avoid storms at sea.

The Storm Glass is an elegant, Victorian-era glass barometer that punctuates dreary winter days with their captivating patterns.  As a beautiful conversation piece, the storm glass is also fun to watch as the quicksilver rises and falls. Most of the storm glasses Weather Scientific offer include a wooden base and an informational booklet.  Some of them even come with a classy, elegant gift box and can be hung on the wall.


What is a Weather Glass?

What exactly is a storm glass? Is it really a tool with which to predict the weather? Is a storm glass based on science or non-sensical rituals? And, most importantly, does a storm glass actually work?

The storm glass has been around since the late 18th century. Within them, supposed changes in crystal formation indicate impending weather events. However, a recent study suggests that this correlation could unreliable at best, and inaccurate at worst.  Here we will discuss how storm glasses work and what you can learn from a storm glass.



What is a Storm Glass, Anyway?

Since the mid-1600s, before the invention of barometers and thermometers, people have been attempting to predict the weather by observing changes in sealed containers of water. Early versions of these weather-predicting devices were called “calories” or “amber balls,” depending on what was used to hold the water.

So, what exactly is a storm glass? A storm glass is a weather predicting device that contains a mixture of alcohol and water.  The name was first coined by William Redfield, a sea captain who noticed a relationship between the formation of the crystal at the bottom of the glass and weather patterns.

A storm glass (also known as a weather glass or storm indicator) is a modified barometer claimed to be able to predict the weather. These devices are made of a sealed glass container, often with liquid or sand inside. They are also referred to as witching hour glasses after the hour generally associated with changeable weather conditions.

The relationship between the liquid inside and the weather outside provides your first warning that a storm is on the way.



Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass



This handsome wall-mounted weather instrument accurately forecasts the weather based on the rising and falling of its colored, alcohol-based liquid.  Admiral Fitzroy, who spent his life around the sea, was familiar with the ways of the ocean.  He noticed that each day, his storm glass rose and fell at different times due to changing air pressures.



The storm glass helped Fitzroy foresee storms better, saving his crew members from danger.

For many years, the Fitzroy Storm Glass was all the rage in Medieval times. These ornate, hand blown glass balls were used in place of a barometer to predict the weather. Today, they are less popular than barometers, but still have a small following of collectors.



The Storm Glass today

Storm glasses are designed to predict the weather based on crystal formations in the liquid within.  Most often, they are used by sailors. The device works best in temperate climates, and is only fully accurate 6-8 weeks into the future. However, it remains a novelty item that will make a great gift for anyone who loves gadgets or old-fashioned things!

Storm glasses are still widely available today. They are popular with sailors, campers, and homemakers who want natural alternatives to chemical-based weather tracking methods.

These beautiful handblown glass vessels have been counted on for hundreds of years to provide accurate weather predictions. Just look at the direction the liquid swirls when it's time for a change in the weather.  If it travels clockwise, expect 4-10 days of pleasant weather; if counterclockwise, wet and stormy. Perfect for collectors and lovers of classic barometers; we think it makes a great gift too.



How to Read a Storm Glass

Robert Fitzroy popularized the current method of reading a storm glass, which has proven to accurately tell the location and severity of the weather. To read a storm glass, turn your glass over so you are reading through the right side of the glass. The top half of the storm glass is for general weather conditions, while the bottom half of the storm glass gives you the specifics for temperatures, winds, etc. This chart can be used with an understanding of today's terminology.

Reading a storm glass (or pineapple) is easy. Step 1: Look at the level of the liquid in the storm glass. The higher it is, the more humid and unsettled weather it will bring. The lower the liquid level, the cooler and drier it will be. Step 2: Observe the color of the liquid by looking through the storm glass — if you can see your finger clearly through it, this indicates cooler and sunny weather will be on its way. If you can't see anything through it, rain is likely to fall in about three days' time.


Storm Glass Liquid Appearance & Weather Forecast

Cloudy with small stars > Thunderstorms
Clear > Sunny and fair
Small, isolated stars during winter > Sunny and fair weather followed by snow in 1-2 days
Large, isolated flakes > Cloudy and humid, snow in the winter
Flakes which rise and stay in the upper part of tube > Winds in the atmosphere, changeable weather
Cloudy > Rain or rain soon
Strands forming near the top > Windy
Small floating spots > Fog
Crystals at the bottom > Frost


Where to place the Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass

The Fitzroy Storm glass is not intended for outdoor use, so if you purchase one, keep it indoor. They should also not be placed in a window that receives direct sunlight, or somewhere that may experience sudden temperatures changes during the day.  Like many weather instruments (thermometers, barometers, wind spinners, etc.), storm glasses are not very forgiving—in other words, they don't like drastic temperature changes.  According to the Clear Sky Chart Company, these instruments should be placed somewhere between 40° and 110° Fahrenheit (5° and 43° Celsius) for them to work properly

Follow those rules and your storm glass will give you accurate weather predictions for years to come.



Recommended Storm Glasses


Weems & Plath 200 Black Storm Glass Gift Box

Accurate and reliable, the Weems & Plath Storm glass predicts weather up to 2 days in advance. Scientifically calibrated with mysterious ingredients, the Storm glass consists of a sealed glass chamber that holds mysterious crystals; as these crystals precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather.  Polished brass cylinder and base included .

An authentic reproduction of the original, is filled with crystals that will precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather. This glass chamber contains mysterious ingredients sealed inside a polished brass cylinder, which is packaged in a velvet-lined black gift box. Avoid placement in extreme heat or direct sunlight.


Predictions of weather conditions and forecasts for the seas and oceans.

Weems & Plath 200 Storm glass works like a barometer, reacting to changes in the weather. Dating back to 17th century England, Weems & Plath 200 is a sealed glass chamber that holds mysterious ingredients, which precipitate (settling-out) based on impending weather conditions.

Weems & Plath 200 Black Gift Box Weems Storm glass predicts weather up to 48-hours in advance. Crystals precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather, while sealed glass chamber holds mysterious ingredients. Threaded base for easy mounting on wall or shelf.

A romantic way to go retro with modern functionality. Presented in a velvet lined gift box. Avoid placement in extreme heat or direct sunlight.


Specifications of the Weems & Plath 200 Black Storm Glass Gift Box

  • Predicts weather up to 48-hours in advance
  • Crystals precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather
  • Sealed glass chamber holds mysterious ingredients
  • Polished brass cylinder
  • Includes mounting accessories for freestanding or wall display (base, mounting accessory, finial, & self-tapping screw)
  • Packaged in a velvet-lined, black gift box
  • Avoid placement in extreme heat or direct sunlight



Weems & Plath Mariner's Storm Glass


Display your own piece of Victorian science with this modern re-creation of the original storm glass.. The Mariner’s Storm glass combines Victorian technology and beautiful design with contemporary materials and is a reminder of the power and unpredictability of nature.

Weems & Plath’s Mariner’s Storm glass is a popular desktop novelty. The tube mounts upright and the center of the tube is filled with an unknown, yet weather sensitive, mixture that reacts to changing weather conditions.


More about Weems & Plath®

Weems & Plath® is the oldest continuously operating marine instrument company in the United States, and it’s no wonder why.  For over 230 years, Weems & Plath® has built high quality, historical instruments like the Mariner’s Storm glass® to help sailors stay safe at sea.

The Mariner’s Storm glass® replicates the one created by Dr. Robert FitzRoy, the famous sailor and meteorologist who helped Darwin develop his theory of evolution.  FitzRoy held that changes in the chemical composition of cloud droplets could be used to forecast storms at sea.


Specifications of the Weems & Plath Mariner's Storm Glass

  • Predicts weather up to 48-hours in advance
  • Crystals precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather
  • Includes reference card of crystal formations
  • Solid brass end caps forged with a brushed finish
  • Avoid placement in extreme heat or direct sunlight



Weems & Plath Sorensen Storm Glass

The Sorensen Stormglass is an instrument used to predict the weather. Its origins are in the 17th century Danish Society of Sea Captains. It has been in continuous use since then by sailors in all parts of the world.

The glass chamber filled with liquid is encapsulated in a polished brass cylinder and has a capillary tube sticking up from it, which joins with the other glass chamber on top.

As the temperature changes, it affects the level of the water and causes crystals to form inside the glass chamber. When you study these crystals, you can then ascertain what sort of weather will occur within two days.

Specifications of Weems & Plath Sorensen Storm Glass

  • Predicts weather up to 48-hours in advance
  • Crystals precipitate in unique formations based on impending weather
  • Sealed glass chamber holds mysterious ingredients
  • Polished brass cylinder
  • Display freestanding
  • Can be mounted to a boat bulkhead or wall using a brass hook (ES 55 02 01--sold separately)


Should you Weather the Storm Glass?

Do you know someone that loves to talk about weather? This barometer may be a great way to show them that you care. The storm glass features a small amount of alcohol in the bottom which evaporates at different temperatures, and is said by some people to be an accurate weather forecaster.

While it may not be entirely true, it is still a very cool looking piece that can look great on someone's mantle.

If you know someone who likes the topic of weather, one of these storm glasses will make a perfect gift!





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