Anemometer - History of Anemometer


The anemometer was invented in 1846 by John Thomas Romney Robinson, a scientist in the United Kingdom. Anemometers are devices that can measure wind speed. They are a vital part of weather monitoring and forecasting.

The "Robinson cup anemometer" has three or four cups that are attached to horizontal arms. At the center, the arms connect to a vertical rod. The cups catch the wind, moving the arms and spinning the rod. The faster it spins, the faster the wind is blowing.

  • John Thomas Romney Robinson was an astronomer, and the director of the Armagh Astronomical Observatory in Armagh, United Kingdom. He spent many years perfecting his invention, developing the theory, and performing experiments.
  • Robinson's original anemometer still stands where he installed it, on the Observatory roof.
  • Anemometers were improved when electric generators were installed in the base. As the rod at the center spun, an electric current was generated. Once the amount of current certain wind speeds produced, machines could read and record the wind speeds from anemometers in many locations at the same time.
  • Weather monitoring and forecasting depends on anemometers. Having wind speed measurements from many locations allows people to study patterns in the weather.
  • Since Robinson's invention, a few new types of anemometers have been created. For instance, one that measures wind speed by measuring how the air cools a heated wire (a hot-wire anemometer), which is an excellent tool to measure low wind speeds.
  • Understanding weather patterns is the only way to be able to predict what the weather will do in the future. This information can save lives, if it predicts approaching storms. Anemometers are essential for this purpose.

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