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Tempo Drop Storm Glass

By Perrocaliente 

The Tempo Drop Storm Glass by Japanese design collab Perrocaliente is based on a meteorological device originally used by 19th century sailors to predict and forecast the weather.


These days we have more efficient and precise tools to forecast weather conditions but the storm glass is a relic from a past where human curiosity would accept far higher risks to be able to venture into then unknown territories. Nowadays nobody in their right mind would rely on a device filled with a mixture of distilled water, ethanol, potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride and camphor to dare undertake a five-year journey on a ship onto tumultous oceans, yet this is exactly what Admiral Robert FitzRoy (who incidentally coined the term “weather forecast” and can be seen as one of the pioneeers of meteorology) used on his famous voyage with Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle that provided the latter with the material to form his groundbreaking theory on evolution On the Origin of Species: the expedition enabled Darwin to study the various plants and animals and to collect specimens for further analysis.

In 1859 during a period of violent storms on the British Isles the British Crown distributed storm glasses, then known as “FitzRoy’s storm barometers,” to many small fishing communities around the British Isles that were to be consulted by ships at port before setting sail.

Anne Marie Helmenstine discusses how storm glasses work in an About.com article:
“A storm glass works on the premise that temperature and pressure affect solubility, sometimes resulting in clear liquid; other times causing precipitants to form. However, the method by which this works is not fully understood. Although it is well-established that temperature affects solubility, some studies have simultaneously observed several different storm glasses forming similar crystal patterns at different temperatures. In addition, sealed glasses are not exposed to atmospheric pressure changes and do not react to the pressure variations associated with weather systems. Some people have proposed that surface interactions between the glass wall of the storm glass and the liquid contents account for the crystals. Explanations sometimes include effects of electricity or quantum tunneling across the glass.”


Storm glasses have also been mentioned in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas by Captain Nemo:

“SIR,” CAPTAIN NEMO SAID, showing me the instruments hanging on the walls of his stateroom, “these are the devices needed to navigate the Nautilus. Here, as in the lounge, I always have them before my eyes, and they indicate my position and exact heading in the midst of the ocean. You’re familiar with some of them, such as […] the storm glass, whose mixture decomposes to foretell the arrival of tempests; [ … ].”

The Tempo Drop Storm Glass is available in two different sizes:
φ115mm×205mm and φ80mm×110mm (Tempo Drop Mini)

Sources: Wikipedia and The Royal Museum Greenwich

Size: φ115mm×205mm (¥5,775Prices are approximate only and subject to change.
White Rabbit Express service fee and other costs not included.
) and φ80mm×110mm (¥3,990Prices are approximate only and subject to change.
White Rabbit Express service fee and other costs not included.
) Material: Glass, wood (beech borosilicate), water, ethanol, camphor, wood
Made in China

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Contributed by Rene

Rene is a writer and trend researcher. Born to Japanese parents in Vienna, Austria, she studied fashion and industrial design in Vienna, working as a make-up assistant (where she learnt to decode the complex world of primers, foundations and powders) and briefly as a stylist. After a year under the scorching sun in rural Thailand, Rene finally arrived in Tokyo and spent seven years writing for design magazines and researching trends in youth culture and design. She is White Rabbit's expert on Japanese beauty goods, fashion, and design products.

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