Atmospheric pressure is measured by the barometer. The weight of the air in round numbers is 15 lb. to the square inch and will support a column of water 1 in. square, 34 ft. high, or a column of mercury (density 13.6) 1 in. square, 30 in. high. The parts necessary to make a simple barometer are, a glass tube 1/8 in. internal diameter and about 34 in. long, a bottle 1 in. inside diameter and 2 in. high. Seal one end of the tube by holding it in the flame of a gas burner, which will soon soften the glass so it can be pinched together with pliers. Put a little paraffin in the bottle and melt it by holding the bottle over a small flame. When cool the paraffin should cover the bottom about 1/16 in. thick. The tube is now to be filled with mercury. This may be accomplished with a paper funnel, but before attempting to put in the mercury, place a large dish or tray beneath the tube to catch any mercury that may accidentally be spilled. Only redistilled mercury should be used, and the tube should be perfectly clean before filling. When the tube is filled to within 1 in. of the open end place the forefinger over the hole and tilt the tube up and down so all the air will gather at the finger end. The filling is continued until the tube is full of mercury. The glass bottle containing the wax covered bottom is now placed over the end of the tube and pressed firmly to insure an airtight fit with the tube. The bottle and tube are inverted and after a few ounces of mercury are put in the bottle the tube may be raised out of the wax, but be careful not to bring its edge above the surface of the mercury.
The instrument is put aside while the base is being made, or, if you choose, have the base ready to receive the parts just described when they are completed. Cut a base from a piece of 7/8-in. pine 3 in. wide and 40 in. long. In this base cut a groove to fit the tube and the space to be occupied by the bottle is hollowed out with a chisel to a depth of 3/4 in., so the bottle rests on one-half of its diameter above the surface of the board and one-half below. The instrument is made secure to the base with brass strips tacked on as shown in the sketch. After the instrument is in place put enough mercury in the bottle so the depth of the mercury above the bottom end of the tube will be about 1/2 in.
The scale is made on a piece or cardboard 2 in. wide and 4 in. long. The 4 in. are marked off and divided into sixteenths, and the inches numbered 27 up to 31. The scale is fastened to the base with glue or tacks and in the position behind the tube as shown in the sketch. Before fastening the scale, the instrument should be compared with a standard barometer and the scale adjusted so both readings are the same. But if a standard barometer is not available, the instrument, if accurately constructed, will calibrate itself.
In general, a drop in the mercury indicates a storm and bad weather, while a rise indicates fair weather and in winter a frost. Sudden changes in the barometer are followed by like changes in weather. The slow rise of the mercury predicts fair weather, and a slow fall, the contrary. During the frosty days the drop of the mercury is followed by a thaw and a rise indicates snow.
Take 1/4 oz. of pulverized campor, 62 gr. of pulverized nitrate of potassium, 31 gr. nitrate of ammonia and dissolve in 2 oz. alcohol. Put the solution in a long, slender bottle, closed at the top with a piece of bladder' containing a pinhole to admit air, says Metal Worker. When rain is coming the solid particles will tend gradually to mount, little crystals forming in the liquid, which otherwise remains clear; if high winds are approaching the liquid will become as if fermenting, while a film of solid particles forms on the surface; during fair weather the liquid will remain clear and the solid particles will rest at the bottom.