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What is a Storm Glass and how does a Storm Glass work?

Posted by Ryan on 18th May 2020

Storm Glass

If weather forecasting excites you then I'm sure you must have heard about weather or storm mirrors, or even a weather globe at some point. You might have already seen one without even realising it.

They could have different names, but they're all a mutually inclusive thing. They come in a wide variety of forms and sizes. Some also come with various coloured liquids, since they are mainly used for decorative purposes today.

A little over a century ago, such devices were known to be powerful meteorological equipment and were commonly used to forecast weather conditions.

What is a Storm Glass?

storm glass is a weather forecasting device to predict weather conditions. It consists of a sealed container, which is filled with a mixture of mostly three chemicals dissolved in purified water.

A storm glass, also known as a rain glass or camphor flask, is a glass tube containing a combination of ammonium chloride, potassium nitrate, camphor, water and alcohol, which usually contains a transparent liquid in which various forms of white crystals frequently emerge and dissolve.

The concept is that the mixture is so finely balanced that slight variations in ambient conditions can change the solubility of chemicals and create a vast range of crystal forms, from tiny floating particles to massive masses of feathery fans. Each one is expected to forecast a certain sort of weather.

It was used to forecast various weather patterns, relative to the amount of crystallization and fogginess that resulted in the liquid under increasing weather systems.

The actual maker of storm glass is unknown for some reason. All we do know, though, is that a British naval officer called Admiral Robert FitzRoy is the one responsible for making it famous.

Admiral FitzRoy was a dedicated weather fanatic, and during his time on the HMS Beagle, he made several storm glass experiments and thoroughly recorded all his observations.

As a true believer in the ability of storm glass, Admiral FitzRoy advocated his use throughout the United Kingdom to help meteorologists make better weather predictions, particularly after the storm in 1859 caused hundreds of casualties at sea.

Since the more precise barometers of the time were too costly for mass manufacturing, the British Crown ordered a vast quantity of storm glasses to be shipped to coastal towns and marine settlements around the British Islands.

At the time, weather glasses were widely known as "FitzRoy 's hurricane barometers." By the late 1800s, mercury barometers were very inexpensive. As a result, storm glasses started to lose attention.

How Does a Storm Glass Work?

Chemicals blended in the purified water of a storm glass have a transparent glow. Under such ambient pressures, the solvent begins to crystallize and has a foggy appearance. FitzRoy used the various phases of crystallization and fogginess that exist in the liquid as the weather conditions shift in order to create a trend and to draw up a detailed forecast chart. Fitzroy reported that he used a similar tool to measure barometric pressure and temperature variations by crystal solubility. For this purpose, these instruments are sometimes referred to as Fitzroy Storm Glass or storm glass barometers.

How to Read a Storm Glass?

Storm Glasses usually come with their own collection of guidelines on how to read them. Almost all of the storm glass instructions are perfectly much the same, with little difference. The assumption is that temperatures and pressures have an effect on the solubility of the solution in storm glass.

It means that sometimes the liquid is transparent and often it has a distinct colour that may represent a particular weather pattern. As described above, temperature definitely influences solubility, but because storm glass is an enclosed glass tube, the pressures don't really have anything to do with it.

As described above, the weather conditions were forecast on the basis of the presence and structure of the liquid. Clear Liquid expected warm, nice weather. Large stars in dark liquid on cold winter days expected snowy weather. Large flakes spread throughout the liquid predicted cloudy and wet conditions in moderate climates and snowy conditions during the winter.

Threads present at the top of the liquid predicted wind conditions. Water tends to be rainy, predicted cloudy weather with potential rainfall. The liquid appears cloudy, with small stars predicting thunderstorms. Small spots emerge in the rainy or misty conditions forecast by the air. Crystals emerge at the bottom of the fluid 's predicted frosty conditions.

In addition, not enough analysis and studies have been conducted to draw a conclusive opinion as to just how storm glass operates and how reliable it really is. Unfortunately, ample research has been conducted to reliably say that at most a 50% improvement in weather forecasting has occurred.

Throughout FitzRoy's period, storm glasses could not be fully sealed due to the constraint of time technology. As a result, a rise in barometric pressure may have played a role in his results. Modern storm glasses are completely sealed. This means that the temperature is really the only atmospheric factor that can really play any part in the changes that occur in a storm glass. The influence temperature on the liquid inside a storm glass can not be specifically measured or used to render any sort of accurate weather forecast.

How to Reset a Storm Glass

Resetting a Storm Glass means turning the liquid in the glass completely clear and then returning it to its home environment to see what happens next.

To reset the storm glass, you need to slowly heat the tube while tilting it back and forth to mix the crystals back into the air. What you need to do is steam the tube a bit, not make it hot. You just need to heat the tube and the liquid so that it's just above room temperature.

Heating the tube causes the crystals to disintegrate into the liquid and tilting it back and forth helps to blend it back into the solution.

The easiest way to warm the storm glass and reset it is to use a low fan and low heat hairdryer. Drag the hairdryer slowly around the tube to heat it evenly and at the same time tilting the tube back and forth to blend the fluid.

There are some crucial things to remember when resetting the storm glass, which should be taken into consideration. Don't use too much heat because it will break the bottle. Heat the tube quickly, push the hairdryer back and forth, and don't leave it for too long in one position. Keep your hairdryer a short distance, too close could cause too much heat. Do not even shake your tube, just gently rock it back and forth. Be careful, avoid the temptation to shake it or increase the heat.

It is really necessary not to use too much heat. Note that storm glass is an enclosed glass tube of liquid within, so it will break or shatter if you heat it too much or too fast. Be sure to heat uniformly and slowly enough that one element doesn't get too hot too fast.

Making a hot spot or irregular heating of glass may lead to a crack. Mind that you are dissolving the crystals, not melting them. If the air from the hairdryer is too hot for your face, it's just too hot for a storm glass. It needs about 15 minutes to gradually heat and tilt the storm glass so that the crystals dissolve entirely. You should end up with a tank of a fully transparent liquid with no crystals or sand in the centre. Enable the storm glass to cool completely and then gently place it back in the container. Position a storm glass in a safe area of your home away from air winds, open windows or direct sunlight.

Best Storm Glass 2020

The best storm glass is the one you find the most architecturally appealing. After that, it is important to look at past consumer feedback and ensure that the product is delivered on schedule, packaged properly and suits the description. Here are some options for the best storm glass:

Teardrop Storm Glass Thermometer

Teardrop Storm Glass

This enticing Teardrop Weather Glass Screen has a square-shaped with a dark wooden design. A quirky standout for every home or office, don't be surprised if this storm glass tabletop catches the attention of visitors and guests. It also makes a great present for every meteorologist.

Storm Glass

Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass

A long and beautiful storm glass for home and office decor. With a weather forecast in vintage look, this style of Storm Glass has an enriching feel.

Multi-Coloured Galileo Thermometer Globe Style

Galileo Thermometer GLobe Style

This classic globe style Galileo thermometer contains small glass vessels with wide variations of temperature.

Storm Glass Weather Station and Galileo Thermometer


If you're just trying to forecast the local weather with your home device, you can surely use your mobile device. That doesn't mean you can’t buy a storm glass. Now that you know the context behind them, they 're fun instruments and a perfect conversational piece. A storm glass is a nice, inexpensive weather-related gift for the weather enthusiast in your life.