This biannual event had been run by various dealers for around 30 years in spring and autumn but has now been taken on by the SIS, relaunching it in the summer, on July 8, at a very suitable new venue.
It is being held at the Glaziers Hall near London Bridge, the home of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.
SIS chairman is none other than Charles Miller, who runs the eponymous specialist auction house in London, holding biannual sales of maritime and scientific antiques, paintings and works of art in West Kensington.
He says the aim is to hold the fair annually at first but, if it all goes well, it could revert eventually to the biannual format.
“I want to give this important specialist fair our very best shot to increase exhibitor numbers and footfall,” Miller adds.
“I particularly want to encourage the society’s 450 members to exhibit, so we have reduced the fair’s table price to a good-value £45 to the society’s members or £95 for non-members.”
Traditionally, auction houses take tables at this fair; for example, Bonhams, publicising its biannual scientific auctions, and Flints Auctions, specialist in cameras and scientific instruments.
To give a flavour of the day, one of the lectures at the fair is titled Mr Stevenson’s New Box.
An Englishman, Michael Butterfield emigrated to Paris in the 17th century where he was active from 1675-1724, becoming renowned for the exceptional quality of his scientific instruments.
Designed by Thomas Stevenson (1818-87), a Scottish engineer and designer of lighthouses, the Stevenson shelter is a boxed enclosure with slatted doors which shields the meteorological instruments within used to measure temperature and atmospheric pressure.
The SIS was formed in April 1983 to “bring together people with a specialist interest in scientific instruments, ranging from precious antiques to electronic devices only recently out of production”.