HYDROMETER BOX1924 - 1981
Rectangle brown pleather covered case. Inside lined with blue cloth. In the base of the case is a blue lined insert with moulded indentation to house the hydrometer and white pegs to hold the weights in place. Two hinges along one side, missing clasp on middle of the opposite side. Compartment under the insert to house the thermometer.
In 1894 business partners, and later brothers-in-law, Martin Jull and Mitchell Stewart started a vineyard in the hills overlooking Armadale where they planted several varieties of wine grapes. In 1896 visiting British lord, Sir Arthur Stepney, bought Stewarts share of the vineyard. Three years later he purchased Julls share of the vineyard and named it Derry Na Sura, which reportedly translates from Gaelic to Valley of the wine. Clement Edward Pike was the manager of Derry Na Sura vineyard between 1938 and the late 1940s. Clement Pike was born in Magill, a suburb in the foothills in eastern Adelaide, in 1899. He had come to Western Australia from South Australia where he had been a wine maker in Magill. This collection of instruments was used by Mr Pike at Derry Na Sura to test the quality and the alcohol content from the wines that they produce. In 1949 Clement took Derry Na Sura Pty Ltd to court for breach of contract which he won and was awarded 72 pounds. He then moved to East Bullsbrook were he ran another vineyard until 1954 when it is thought he returned to South Australia. He died in Margill in 1981, aged 93 years.
The Sikes hydrometer was used to measure the alcoholic content of wine during the fermentation process. As the wine was fermenting samples would be regularly taken and the hydrometer would be used to measure the specific gravity of the sample. Weights would be placed on the stem of the hydrometer to keep it stable. As the sugar was converted to alcohol the samples would become less dense and the hydrometer would descend deeper into sample. When the sample result were the same 3 days in a row it meant the fermentation process was complete. The difference between the first and last measurements would be used to calculate the alcohol content of the wine.
Thermometers are an important part to the wine making process as changes in temperature could spoil a batch of wine during fermentation and ruin the flavour that the vigneron was wanting to achieve.
This object is a part of a collection that represents the skills and scientific knowledge required to produce wine and fortified wines in a commercial vineyard and how the products of the wineries were sold and marketed across Western Australia. The collection also represents the important role wine making played in the agricultural development of the City of Armadale from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s. During this period several large and small commercial vineyards operated along Albany Highway and the South West Highway.