ASK OCE — May 29, 2007 — Vol. 2, Issue 3
For more than 550 years, mankind has had the ability to observe and measure the pressure and velocity of the wind through the use of the anemometer.
The earliest anemometer was designed by Italian inventor and architect Leon Battista Alberti in 1450. His device consisted of a disk placed perpendicular to the direction of the wind that would spin due to the wind, the angle of inclination of the disk momentarily revealing its force.
This same anemometer was later “re-invented” many years later by Englishman Robert Hooke, who is often mistakenly credited as the anemometer’s inventor.
The most common anemometer, still widely used today, is the Hemispherical Cup Anemometer, which has three or four small hollow metal cups of hemispheres set to catch the wind and revolve around a vertical rod. The revolutions of the Hemispherical Cup Anemometer are used to calculate the velocity of the wind.
The hemispherical cup anemometer was invented by John Thomas Romney Robinson of Ireland in 1846. A combination of wheels recorded the number of revolutions in a given timeframe.
Anemometers today employ a range of new technologies to measure wind speed and pressure, including sound waves, laser and Doppler technology, and electrical currents.