Robert FitzRoy’s claim to fame was as the captain of the HMS Beagle. The Beagle was the vessel that carried scientist Charles Darwin on his legendary scientific expeditions.
He was a brilliant man trained as a captain, a hydrographer, and a surveyor. He is also given credit for being a pioneer in advance weather forecasting. In Fitzroy’s time, the first half of the 19th century, the ability to predict the weather at sea could determine whether you lived or died.
Fitzroy developed a device that measured barometric pressure. His device, and other like them worked.
Fast forward to 2013.
You can pick up many upscale catalogs that feature cool, slick, and fancy barometric measuring devices.
They do look cool, and not doubt, will spark much conversation in a sitting room or a den.
I was asked to take a look at The Storm Glass from the Bits and Pieces catalog. I’ve actually ordered merchandise from the catalog and just about everything I’ve ordered was “good as ordered.”
But The Storm Glass was out of my expertise area. I recruited WHNT NEWS 19 Meteorologist Jason Simpson to help me with the Deal or Dud test.
The Storm Glass cost $19.99. The directions are pretty easy to follow, and the “metrics” for how The Storm Glass works are printed on the front of the object. If the weather is clear, then the liquid in the glass is clear. If the weather is going to be bad, crystals in the water float to the top. The Storm Class says it has “mysterious crystals.” After watching “The Lord of the Rings” I usually try to stay away from anything mysterious.
But that is just me…and I digress.
We tested The Storm Glass during a severe weather week and it didn’t measure anything correctly in the way of predicting the weather. In fact, at one point the weather, and incoming weather, was stable, and The Storm Glass started predicting bad weather.
We made it a Dud. But we are keeping the device in the weather center to see if it eventually starts working. If it does, we will update it.