Wanna up your workdesk game? Add sophistication to your desk aesthetic with something that’s been around for almost two centuries — a storm glass! For a long time, people of the past resorted to this weather predicting apparatus for the day’s forecast. Just let the storm glass sit pretty, and let the liquids inside it do the magic. To this day, it still baffles scientists how this is even possible. Want a little touch of pizzazz and mystery? Well, check out our favourite picks of storm glasses you should totally get.
Best Storm Glass To Consider Getting For Yourself
In case none of our picks have piqued your interest, we’ve crafted a simple buying guide to help you streamline your search for the perfect weather-predicting gizmo.
Quality of Materials Used
Whether its purpose is to serve as a gift or an ornamental piece in your house, the quality of materials used are very important. Pricier storm glasses tend to be made of more durable and thicker glass, which helps prevent freak accidents and keeps the external air pressure from seeping inside the structure. More affordable storm glasses may imply a thinner layer of glass, which can be risky especially if you need to reset it with a blow dryer when you get it. However, price doesn’t always determine quality — the Kikkerland ST71 Storm Glass is one of our more affordable picks and it comes mounted on a thick square of beechwood, providing it stability.
There are different styles of storm glasses you may run into — the classic teardrop shape or the slender cylinder shape. If you’ve got kids or pets who like to knock things off the table, we recommend getting the cylindrically-shaped one because it’s usually fixed onto a stable base. The classic teardrop shape is undoubtedly a statement piece, but may require you to run to the store to purchase adhesive to secure it on a stable base or flat surface to prevent it from toppling. For example, the AcuRite 00795A2 Galileo Thermometer and Glass Globe Barometer actually come with its own wooden base. From the customer reviews we’ve read, these stunning apparatuses aren’t actually secured onto the base, which makes it extra fragile.
Extra Weather-Predicting Accessories
If you’re searching for something a little more extra, you may run into many listings that offer more than just a storm glass. Take Lily’s Home Analog Weather Station as an example: it’s a storm glass, Galileo thermometer, clock and hygrometer — it’s basically a mini antique weather station. Besides making a statement, having these extra features can elevate your own weather-predicting experiences! If you’re curious about how people forecasted the weather in the past, having more instruments won’t hurt.
How Do I Understand a Storm Glass?
Generally, the formation and malleability of the crystals inside the storm glass are indicators of the day’s weather. Just to reiterate our previous point, a storm glass is in no way an instrument to fully rely on for weather forecasts, but here is a table to show you how people used to read them in the past. Take note that this is a general guide for most devices as usually individual products come with their own guide.
|Storm Glass||Predicted Weather Condition|
|Cloudy with tiny spots or star-like particles||Thunderstorms / Monsoons|
|Strands near top||Windy day|
|Floating tiny spots||Fog approaching|
|Formation of crystals at the bottom||Extra snowy day with possibility of frost|
|Tiny particles rising from the bottom to accumulate at the top||Fickle weather, usually symbolises strong winds approaching|
|Large particles floating in place||Cloudy and humid day / (winter season) snowy day|
|(Winter season) small particles or star-like spots floating in place||A sunny day that will soon be snowy in about one or two days|
Hopefully, this article has cleared up what storm glasses are and that it has left a lasting impression. It’s important to know that this is more than just desk decor, and that it actually is an instrument for weather prediction. For anyone who’s curious and interested in the weather, this can be an awesome gift!
Pioneered by Admiral Robert Fitzroy in the 1800s, storm glasses became a popular weather-predicting instrument in ships. It was made to be able to produce a weather forecast at least one or two days in advance, giving the user the ability to plan their activities. A typical storm glass is filled with water, ethanol, ammonium chloride, potassium nitrate and camphor. This creates a clear solution with an immiscible cloudy substance that can form crystals or particles, depending on the weather. The different forms this cloudy substance takes is the general indication of a weather prediction in action.
Appearance-wise, a storm glass is usually a cylindrical or teardrop-like structure with two immiscible substances while a Galileo thermometer has five coloured bulbs with temperature tags. The latter operates differently — temperature readings depend on the movements of the bulbs inside it. Each bulb is coloured differently and is weighted accordingly to react to temperature changes. As the temperature changes, the density of the water inside of the thermometer is presumed to change as well, causing the bulbs to either float or sink. Generally, when the bulbs start to sink, it indicates a rise in temperature while bulbs floating upwards indicate a drop.While the Galileo thermometer is a more vibrant statement piece, both weather predicting devices are pretty interesting! In fact, if you’d like to have both, consider our picks: Lily’s Home Analog Weather Station or the AcuRite 00795A2 Galileo Thermometer with Glass Globe Barometer.
While there is a lack of scientific research to prove that the storm glass is an accurate weather forecaster, most studies agree that it’s about a 50/50 chance of it actually getting predictions right. We highly advise against fully relying on these weather-predicting devices for accurate readings. However, it does make for great conversation-starters and visually-appealing ornaments at home.
Well, with the chance of most of these devices only churning out a 50% chance of accurate forecasts, it’s hard to determine whether it’s really “broken”. So you don’t necessarily have to expect that this immediately predicts a sudden gust of wind or a slight drizzle. It’s also common for new storm glasses to take a couple of days to acclimate to its surroundings, hence it may appear stagnant during its first few days.However, if you end up with a weather predictor that does not react to anything at all for a long time — it might require resetting. Firstly, when you receive your package, one of the things to ensure is that the contents in the glass are clear. If you see some crystals, it’s a sign to dissolve them with a bit of heat. Most manufacturers recommend a blow-dryer on low settings. Be very gentle when applying heat, too much can cause it the entire glass structure to break. For example, the Fitzroy Storm Glass comes with instructions to reset before use — which entails the common way of blow drying the crystals to activate them. This is also to ensure that this device isn’t “working” during delivery, and that you give it a new area to acclimate to.
If you aren’t careful and apply too much heat, it can cause the device to break. If you do experience a breakage, avoid direct skin contact with any of the spilled liquid or broken shards of glass. The chemicals required to create a storm glass are a risk to your health and can cause sickness just through inhalation. Wear a mask and gloves when disposing of the mess, and clean the impacted area thoroughly.
Unless explicitly advertised otherwise, do not use storm glasses outdoors or place them in areas that are met with direct sunlight unless the product has been advertised otherwise. Additionally, do not place them near objects that emit heat or cooling wind. Most customers put them atop a windowsill to get a reaction out of it, but exposure to direct sunlight can result in readings that do not make sense.