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First invented in the mid-1700s, Storm Glass soon made its way into ships and harbors around Europe to help give warning of approaching bad weather.
It gained the most fame through Admiral FitzRoy who used a Storm Glass on the voyage in which he and Darwin traveled to the Galápagos Islands. As a result, the instrument is sometimes called a ‘FitzRoy Storm Glass’.
What the Storm Glass Can Predict
- Clear liquid: Bright weather.
- Crystals at the bottom: Thick air, frost in winter.
- Dim liquid with small stars: Thunderstorms.
- Large flakes: Heavy air, overcast sky, snow in winter.
- Threads in the upper portion of liquid: Windy weather.
- Small dots: Damp weather, fog.
- Rising flakes which remain high: Wind in the upper air regions.
- Small stars: In winter on bright, sunny days, snow in one or two days.
- The higher the crystals rise in the glass tube in winter the colder it will be.
- Vodka, 100 Proof (50% Ethanol) – 300 mL
- Camphor – 28g (1oz)
- Potassium Nitrate – 10g
- Ammonium Chloride – 10g
Some of these chemicals may be difficult to obtain in certain parts of the world. However, if you are able to find Camphor, it’s possible that Potassium Nitrate or Ammonium Chloride could be substituted for other soluble salts, such as Sodium Chloride (I have not tested this).