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How to reset a storm glass

Admiral Fitzroy storm glass before reset

Figure 1: Storm glass condition before reset.

My Admiral Fitzroy storm glass seemed to have got stuck over the last few weeks. It has showed the same crystal formation for the last month or so even when the weather was drastically different. As shown in figure 1, the storm glass had grown some small crystals in the bottom of the tube and then stopped. The weather had gone from freezing rain, to high winds, to snow, and finally back to bright sunny days. During this time there was no change in the state of the crystals.

I decided to try to reset the storm glass back to its original state in hopes that the crystals will start changing into different formations instead of staying the same. The crystals are supposed to change formations based on the upcoming weather.

Figure 1 shows how the storm glass looked before reset. You can see that the liquid is generally clear with some large snowflake like crystals in the bottom of the tube. If you tilt the tube, the crystals will float around and then fall back down to the bottom of the tube.

The objective of resetting the storm glass is to dissolve the crystals completely into the liquid, so that the liquid becomes completely clear with no crystals or sediment in the tube.

Reset the storm glass

To reset the storm glass you want to slowly heat the tube while at the same time tilting it back and forth to mix the crystals back into the liquid. You only need to slightly warm the tube, not get it hot. You are only heating the tube and the liquid so that it is slightly above room temperature. Warming the tube causes the crystals to dissolve into the liquid and tilting it back and forth helps to mix them back into the solution.

Resetting the Admiral Fitzroy storm glass using a hair dryer

Figure 2: Resetting the storm glass using a hair dryer on low heat.
Don't make it too hot!

The best way to warm the storm glass and reset it is to use a hair dryer on low fan and low heat. Slowly move the hair dryer across the tube to heat it evenly while at the same time tilting the tube back and forth to mix the liquid.

Important points

It's very important not to use too much heat. Remember the storm glass is a sealed glass tube with liquid inside and it can crack or explode if you heat it too hot or too quickly. Make sure to heat evenly and slowly so that one part does not get too hot too quickly. Creating a hot spot or uneven heating of the glass can lead to breakage. Remember you are dissolving the crystals, not melting them. If the air from the hair dryer is getting too hot for your hands, then it is also too hot for the storm glass.

It takes about 15 minutes of slowly heating and tilting the storm glass for the crystals to completely dissolve. You should end up with a tube full of completely clear liquid with no crystals or sediment in the bottom. If your tube has more crystal growth than mine did, it may take longer than 15 minutes to completely dissolve everything. This takes time, so be patient.

Admiral Fitzroy storm glass when reset back to original state

Figure 3: Storm glass after reset.
The liquid should be completely clear.

Allow the storm glass to cool completely and then gently install it back in its holder. Place the storm glass in a stable area of your house, away from air drafts, open windows or direct sunlight. I found the best place to put it, and at the same time keep it away from little hands, is in my curio cabinet.

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Page last updated: January 28,2014.

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