Archive for September, 2013

Life Before Barometers

September 27th, 2013 | posted by Justine D'Ooge

It is amazing that settled agriculture is considered to be a major contributing factor in humans’ shift towards civilization, yet instrumental meteorological observations did not begin until the early 17th century.  From farmers to fishermen,

Stick Barometer By John Bennett

Stick Barometer By John Bennett

humans relied on knowledge gathered from generations of observations to predict the weather; maxims such as “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.  Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” were our guides before Doppler radar.

Barometer by Worthington of London

Barometer by Worthington of London

Instrument-based predictions that are indispensable to us now (especially for those of us that are put in the crosshairs every hurricane season) were begun in earnest with the thermometer developed by Galileo Galilei.  Even though the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli is credited with inventing the barometer in 1643, this original invention by Galileo did also, in fact, respond to atmospheric pressure just like a barometer does.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of barometers in pre-Industrial Revolution society.  In the early years of their use, we relied on them heavily for planning day-to-day routines; even the most modest of homes had some manner of this instrument.  However, few barometers dated before the 1770s, the early part of this significant point in human history, remain today, making this Georgian barometer from circa 1750 quite the find. Crafted by the leading London instrument-maker John Bennett, this exceptional barometer is known as a “stick” barometer.  While many attempts were made to improve upon the barometer’s  form, the stick barometer proved to be the most reliable.

Another fine example of a stick barometer is this one by the esteemed Worthington & Allan.  While the barometer by John Bennett bears a sycamore veneer, this piece from circa 1825 is crafted with another luxurious choice: Cuban Mahogany.

Nowadays you may rely on the news or your phone to stay updated on the weather, but nothing compares to the elegance of these barometers.  Without taking up much wall space, you have both a graceful form made from the finest of woods, and a functional reminder of what life was like centuries ago.

In An Instant, I Was Whisked Away…

September 20th, 2013 | posted by Susan Lapene

Staring deeply into the rich green hue of this emerald, so crisp and clean, I was transported back in time to a visit I made to the Emerald Isle.  The incredible green countryside almost looked like an impressionist artist had come along and painted this surreal scene just for me.

It is amazing what thoughts can be provoked by beautiful gemstones, especially when surrounded by diamonds and a setting that could be deemed a work of art in itself.  The lucky wearer may even have thoughts of a time long past and, for a moment, be transported back to that time.

An extraordinary Colombian emerald smolders in this sumptuous ring

This is such a ring.  It has it all: an Art Deco style setting that is a miniature work of art and an emerald so bright and clear, it’s unbelievable.  In fact, no other emeralds bear the captivating verdant hue for which Colombian emeralds, such as this one, are especially prized.

The ring's stunning floral motif adds to its incredible charm

The ring’s stunning floral motif adds to its incredible charm

A work of exceptional beauty and artistry, the rare 4.61-carat treasure from Colombia that this magnificent ring exhibits has been certified by the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) as being completely natural and unenhanced. This jewel is supported in its eye-catching platinum setting by emerald accents on the top and in the intricate floral-motif gallery, as well as by approximately 2.00 carats of sparkling white diamonds

Surprise someone special in your life and create a memory that will last a lifetime.

The Rumble Heard Around the World: Muhammad Ali Memorabilia

September 12th, 2013 | posted by Bill Rau

“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.” –Muhammad Ali

Gifted athlete. Magnetic personality. A true champion.

With a quick tongue and left jab to match, Muhammad Ali could dispose of an opponent even before stepping into the boxing ring. His uncanny ability to posture himself as “The People’s Champion” proved to be much more than trash-talk. With

An autographed photo of Ali announcing The Rumble in the Jungle match between he and George Foreman in 1974.

An autographed photo of Ali announcing The Rumble in the Jungle match between he and George Foreman in 1974.

a combination of superior hand speed and constant movement in the ring, Ali captivated audiences and won some of the most famed bouts in boxing history…effectively earning the originally self-imposed title of  “The Greatest of All Time.”

Ali continues to be regarded as the greatest heavyweight champion by sports commentators and historians. Artifacts from his career command considerable attention on the market, especially those involving legendary stand-offs such as the 1974 Heavyweight Championship match between Ali and George Foreman dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle.” M.S. Rau Antiques was fortunate

enough to acquire several such pieces from the private collection of Henry “Hank” Schwartz, the boxing promoter and telecommunications expert responsible for these incredible matches.

“The Rumble in the Jungle” world heavyweight boxing match is considered the greatest sporting event of the 20th century. When the bout was announced, most analysts at the time believed Ali was no match for the younger and seemingly stronger Foreman, who had won 18 of his last 20 matches by knock out. Ali refused to give consideration to such speculation, often stating that

Sports artist LeRoy Neiman created this sketch of Ali training in Zaire for The Rumble in the Jungle World Heavyweight Championship.

Sports artist LeRoy Neiman created this sketch of Ali training in Zaire for The Rumble in the Jungle World Heavyweight Championship.

Foreman was “too slow” and “too ugly” to beat him, nicknaming the reigning champ “The Mummy” for his solid stance in the ring, as opposed to Ali’s dancing and fast footwork. This great photograph was taken during the press conference in which Ali announced he was going up against Foreman to regain the title. Signed by Ali, this wonderful black and white image captures the unwavering confidence and charisma of this sports icon. That same focus can be seen in this stunning pencil sketch by renowned sports artist LeRoy Neiman. Completed during Ali’s training sessions in Zaire, Neiman captures the fighter’s  drive and grit to regain the heavyweight title against a perceived unstoppable opponent.

At the end of the day, Ali beat Foreman in the eighth round by a knock out. Over his illustrious 21-year career, this legendary boxer fought in 61 professional matches, defeating every top heavyweight of his time, winning 56 times with a total of 37 knock outs to his credit. Over three decades after his last bout, the name Muhammad Ali continues to inspire. His contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and guiding values of peace, respect and social responsibility have proved that he is a champion both in and out of the ring.

To view M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection Muhammad Ali memorabilia, click here.