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The History of Weather Instruments

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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Weather is the state of the earth's atmosphere.

By defintion the weather is "the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with respect to variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure."

Measuring the Weather

In the early days of the Weather Bureau numerous clever mechanical devices were invented to measure and record any and every meteorological (weather) parameter conceivable: ombroscope or rainfall recorder, mechanical anemometer or wind speed indicator, remote readout wind vane, pole star recorder.

Anemometer (Also known as a Wind Vane)

Wind velocity or speed is measured by a cup anemometer, an instrument with three or four small hollow metal hemispheres set so that they catch the wind and revolve about a vertical rod. An electrical device records the revolutions of the cups and calculates the wind velocity. The word anemometer comes from the Greek word for wind, "anemos."

Wind & Weather Computer "Wicom"

In 1986, the first wind computer "Wicom" was born.


Barometer - Pronunciation: [b u rom´ u t u r] - a barometer is an instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure. The barometer was invented by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643.


A hygrometer is an instrument used to measure the moisture content or the humidity of air or any gas.

Rain Gauge

A rain gauge measures how much rain has fallen.


Thermometers measure temperature by using materials that change in some way when they are heated or cooled. The first thermometers were called thermoscopes, and while several inventors invented a version of the thermoscope at the same time, Italian inventor Santorio Santorio was the first inventor to put a numerical scale on the instrument. In 1724, Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury thermometer.


Englishman, Luke Howard (1773-1864) gave clouds their common names.

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