Photo:Barry's thermometer

Barry's thermometer

Andy Gilbert

A Family Heirloom

By Andy Gilbert

At the weekend I was given some of my late brother Barry Gilbert's possessions by his son, Greg Gilbert.

They included a large Red Ensign, given to him by our Dad, Captain Frank Gilbert. Apparently, Dad 'borrowed' it as a memento during VJ Day in 1945! It's been in the family ever since.

And there was this item, which intrigues me. It's a thermometer made in the style of a ship's whistle. I wonder if it's something that Barry would have made as an apprentice marine engineer at the Marine Shops on the Railway Quay. That would have been in the mid to late 1950s as his apprenticeship started in 1954. Are there any other marine apprentices on here? Did you make something similar?

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 05/09/2018.
Comments about this page

A motorship's engine room might contain upward of 30 glass thermometers, measuring inlet and outlet temperatures of jacket water, lubricating oil, scavenge air, seawater outlets for the respective coolers, as well as fuel heater outlet, thrust block, etc. It was part of the Junior Engineer's job to record these every watch. 

The type illustrated is a standard item as produced by Negretti & Zambra; the brass shroud protects the glass from damage when mounted in a vulnerable position, e.g. a cylinder head water outlet, and would also shield against radiated heat from nearby exhaust pipes which would otherwise give a false reading. 

It would appear that these are now collectable; there are several for sale on ebay at present!

By Bruce Macphee
On 11/09/2018

Many thanks for solving the mystery. I guess that my brother would have checked quite a few of these during his career. The only question now is what ship it came from!

By Andy Gilbert
On 12/09/2018

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