How’s the Weather?  A Brief History on Antique BarometersImage result for images of french barometers


The mercury barometer was invented in 1643 by Torricelli, a student of Galileo, in Florence, Italy.

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This remarkable device is used to measure atmospheric pressure, and those changes in pressure indicate a change in the weather.

Interestingly, barometers were not originally used for meteorological observations, but for measuring heights and to use in air pump/vacuum experiments. Weather forecasting became a secondary feature once it was realized that a connection existed between the alterations of the weight of the air and alterations in the weather.

Until about 1780 barometers were still the preserve of scientists and the wealthy, but they had started to move out of Italy, up through France and into England. The Italian-the original craftsmen responsible for making barometers -were mainly from the northern towns of Venice and Milan, still famous for their glass blowing abilities.

After 1780 or so wheel barometers were being made in France, both in the familiar banjo shape and fabulously gilded in the Louis XV style of French furniture, as well as in the less frequently seen – but very desirable – octagonal shape18th c. French Louis XVI Gilt-Trimmed Octagonal Barometer with Pediment:

The mercury type barometer manufacturers reached their peak from about 1830 to 1890.

Below are the barometers found currently at Crown and Colony Antiques – all with years and years of age showing, but in beautiful condition considering how old they are.

As barometers measure air pressure, they were also used for measuring altitude, or height above the ground, such as the height of a mountain, and were often used to measure altitude aboard a hot air balloon. They were also used by miners in caves to determine the depth of a mine. By the late 1800’s, the barometer was as popular, and an equivalent in it’s time, as the computer is today. Because competition for market share was fierce, the finest cabinet and clock makers, and inventors, devoted their talents to create the best and most appealing barometers to capture the eye of the buyer.  These endeavors are still seen and appreciated today.

Here a barometer is used in a bedroom over a fireplace – compliments of Atlanta designer, Patricia McLean.

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BAROMETERS can and are used in literally every room in the house…As Lynn Lee Terry, Editor of Southern Home magazine, agrees.

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In the Dining Room – compliments of Cote de Texas

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What makes the needle turn on the front?

The mercury tube is enclosed behind a door in the rear of the case; and by a system of strings, weights and a pulley, the reading of the air pressure is transferred to a needle which moves over the circular register, or dial, on the front.


An “in tack” pulley system with the wires…

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The stick barometer which showed up around 1810, did not require any mechanism to turn a needle on a dial, and the reading of the air pressure is taken directly from the height of the mercury in the tube – exactly as it had been in 1643.

Formal French stick Louis XVI barometers

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The bulb filled with mercury Image result for images of french stick barometer

these  formal stick barometers can be found at G.Sergeant Antiques

Barometers today, especially very old ones, are recycled as decorative pieces for beautiful homes.  Typically the oldest ones that once used mercury to determine pressure no longer function.

The French Tangerine: ~ beguiling barometers:

By 1870 to 1890 production of mercury barometers had slowed way down and then virtually ceased; making them more precious today than ever.

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Wall vignette with blue and white porcelain - Charles Faudree:

Renowned designer with a flair for French design, Charles Faudree, really knew how to place a barometer in the home with all the best accents surrounding it.  In this room it is definitely a focal point.

I have always been captivated by all things blue and white. The combination  is such a timeless,classic look. I enjoy using dead gray and white gesso furniture with very committed patterns of blue and white. Here are several amazing examples of blue and white with cream and gilt. I especially love the French gray color on the trumeau and  bed. In Carolyne Roehm's book, A Passion for Interiors. I find a great deal of inspiration from her rooms for my painted furniture designs. I hope you will be: Banjo style barometer – one of the first shapes when the barometer was being developed.

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Crown and Colony Antiques carries beautiful barometers.  Please stop by our shop to embrace the full beauty of these spectacular historical pieces that can add decorative flare to your home.  They are very special and very sought after.  

Feel free to call us for more information:  251-928-4808

  Our merchandise can also be found on  SEARCH: Crown and Colony Antiques…

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Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

blue striped sofa picture from / square barometer with blue background- 1st dibs / picture of long slender gustavian barometer from on pinterest

Any pictures used other than those of Crown and Colony, RF Antiques or Aubergine Antiques are used solely for the purpose of information

Holiday Drinks – Cocktail Hour



Holiday Drinks for the cocktail hour are made special by incorporating regional aspects into the drink – Such as,

Champagne or Prosecco!!


Prosecco is made in Italy, Image result for images of bottles and glasses of proseccoChampagne in France.Image result for images of com perignon But there’s more to it than just country of origin.   

Continue reading “Holiday Drinks – Cocktail Hour”

French Furniture and Accessories

 You know what they say… Paris is always a good idea.

Parisian style, French furniture and French accessories are also a good idea!

 Ever wonder how the French so seamlessly pull together clothing and furniture/accessories to make everything sparkle FRENCH…

The French have a certain appreciation for antiques, as well as the beauty of aging. An antique mirror, speckled with telltale signs of age like oxidation and scratches, can bring a sense of history to a room that no shiny, happy new thing can. A vintage desk with water rings from coffee-fueled days has character and brings a human element to a space.

Crystal chandeliers are ubiquitous in Parisian homes. A natural place for one is a dining room, but you can also add a little sparkle in a small powder room or master bathroom.  Choose sparkle, crystals and metal for that added bit of glamour that actually mixes quite well with casual.

ALL THREE OF OUR SHOPS CARRY GORGEOUS CHANDELIERS!!  You can view the choices under “lighting” from our website

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 A French settee is ALWAYS a sure bet as an accent in any room of the house.

Glamour is a major pillar of Parisian interiors, and a touch of gold is often the key to achieving it, such as a gold gilt accessory for atop a chest…

or hanging a French Louis Philippe or French style mirror (maybe a trumeau) over a fireplace mantle, console or French chest.  An occasional chair with gold accents can also make a statement.

French candlesticks in gold also add a warmth and French touch to a room.

Antiques are a must-have for every sophisticated home, but they seem to be innate in Parisian homes.  The French home lends itself to naturally showcase certain styles of French furniture/accessories, such as, imported chinoiserie pieces,

Louis XVI, Louis XV and Louis XIV chairs, desks or commodes. 

All similar, but with slight differences which give the room/home that acquired look and not “matchy matchy”.  French antique pieces are ones that you can literally use in any room of the house, they are a worthwhile investment and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Crown and Colony, Aubergines and RF Antiques carry French antique furniture and accessories – anything you can image French, we carry!  Come visit us this holiday season and add a little “French Style” to your home.

You can view most, but not all of our items on Instagram @crownandcolonyantiques or view our website

See all merchandise by visiting our three shops in beautiful downtown Fairhope, AL

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Some, but not all pictures are borrowed from Pinterest, One Kings Lane and other internet sites.  Pictures that are not those of Crown and Colony are used for educational purposes only.


The French BuffetImage result for images of french buffets from crown and colony antiquesBuffets, credenzas and sideboards share a similar purpose in the dining room. These three pieces of furniture are all similar in function and appearance, and the terms are used to describe furniture used for serving, storage and display.

Certain defining characteristics may help distinguish one from the other, but in many cases, the furniture won’t feature all these elements. What really makes each piece different is its history.   This type of furniture is versatile enough that is is not always used in the dining room, making it a practical purchase.

The Credenza

What distinguishes a credenza is a long, low profile, narrow cabinet with multiple storage compartments and a flat top. Usually made from wood, credenzas originally had no legs or feet; instead, they were just cabinets that rested directly on the floor.antique-sideboard-cville

Historically, credenzas played an important role in the dining quarters of kings or high-ranking noblemen. The word “credenza” is the Italian equivalent of “credence,” or “truth,” and the food placed on the piece had to be taste-tested to ensure it wasn’t poisoned.  A food taster Image result for images of a food taster to the kingwas the person who ingested the food which would be served to confirm that it was safe to eat. One who tests drink in this way was known as a cupbearer.

The Buffet

The French term “buffet” translates literally as “sideboard.” The word is also closely associated with a self-serve meal spread out buffet-style on a long, narrow table. The origins of the buffet table go back to 16th century Swedish schnapps tables holding the pre-dinner spirits. By the 18th century, schnapps tables evolved into the smorgasbord table, in which food and drinks were laid out for guests. Buffets typically have some type of cabinets or drawers for storage and a flat surface for food and decor.

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The long, narrow profile of a sideboard makes it practically identical to a credenza and a buffet.  Sideboards  comprised of cabinets and, sometimes, drawers. When a sideboard has legs, they tend to be shorter and thicker in size like the one pictured above. Sideboards were first used in late 18th century England, when designer Robert Adams constructed a three-part dining ensemble that included an oblong table centered between two pedestal cupboards resting on urns. The sideboards displayed the finest serving ware in the household, typically silver and fine china.Related image

Our French culinary shop, Aubergine Antiques, carries many many styles of “enfilades” (the French word for buffet or sideboard) as does our garden and architectural antique shop, RF Antiques, and our hub shop Crown and Colony Antiques.

Please visit us online to have a first viewing of our selection and then come visit us to see in person!!

Visit the website through the link provided and then click on Buffets & Sideboards and for NEW CONTAINER items, click on What’s New.

We just received a NEW FRENCH CONTAINER.  Our shops are filled with not only sideboards, but all sorts of wonderful antiques at EVERY price point.  Please make it a point to visit us before the holidays.  Let one of our qualified employees assist you with making the perfect purchase.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!




The FRENCH Watering CanRelated image

Original “watering pots”, were terracotta and very heavy.  Popular in the mid 1800’s were French ones with one large handle that arched from the front to the back of the can; this did make it a bit more troublesome to balance the can while watering plants that were on higher shelving.  But, none the less were functional and beautiful.

Below is one of the many French water cans that we sell at RF Antiques.  It has the original one handle design that I find to be charming and contrary to what John Haws notes of design, the French design is quite adequate!


The change in style begins with Madagascar and the growing of vanilla beans.  While tinkering with growing the vanilla bean plant in Madagascar a man named John Haws found the current design for watering cans to be awkward and hard to maneuver.

When John Haws returned to England he found himself in the midst of a gardening explosion very popular during the Victorian era.  The wealthy upper class were constantly searching for the perfect garden to put on display.  Ornamental gardens and greenhouse cultivation with plants in self contained areas required a lot of hand watering.  Image result for images of victorian greenhouses and watering cans

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In 1885 John Haws applied for and was issued the first ever patent on a watering can with his new handle design. His patent claimed:

“This new invention forms a Watering Pot that is much easier to carry, and at the same time being much cleaner, and more adapted for use than any put before the public”

His new invention introduced the addition of a second handle.  The previous French design had just one large front to back handle. Haws revised design had a “carrying” handle on top and a “tipping” handle on the back of the can to allow a more even distribution of water and his design also called for a spout located at the bottom of the watering can to allow for easier watering of plants on high shelves. Photobucket

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Watering Can Fact: The spout is capped with a fitting made of small holes where water is expelled from a very gentle flow to a heavier flow, dependent upon the delicacy of the plant being watered. This ‘cap’ is also known as a ‘rose’– It comes from the French word arroseur which means sprinkler.


Sotheby’s director and “gardenalia” expert Alistair Morris is quoted:

“There is nothing more emblematic of gardening than a watering-can,” he says. “It is a simple vessel with a pure purpose which started out as a pottery pot and only turned into a can made of metal in the late 17th century.”

THEREFORE, this “simple vessel” has been used extensively as subject matter for artists all over the world.  It adds that element of “connection to the painting” that artists strive for.

Woman With Watering Cans by L. E. Adan

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A Girl With a Watering Can by Renoir 1876

Theophile Emmanuel Duverger

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Martha Stewart shares a video on antique watering cans of all kinds and the history of the watering can.  Click on the link below to enjoy this short and enjoyable watering can excerpt.

As history would dictate through progressive movements the quality and production techniques of the watering can improved dramatically with the Industrial Revolution, when the heavy terracotta

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and copper was replaced by tinplate and lighter metals as seen below.  Lighter metals allowed for the increase in weight once water was put into the vessel making it naturally heavier.The watering cans in the above picture are at our garden antiques shop, RF Antiques, 251-928-8336 Call us to check availability of all French watering cans or call Aubergine Antiques, our French culinary shop, 251-928-0902 for information on our supply of copper watering cans.


Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!