Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

John Jeffries was a Boston physician, scientist, and military surgeon with the British army during the Revolutionary War. Jeffries is recognized as the first “weatherman.” As noted in a previous column, he was an early balloonist and accompanied Jean-Pierre Blanchard in 1785 as their balloon crossed the English Channel. During the flight, Dr. Jeffries took weather readings with a telescope, timepiece, compass, thermometer, barometer hydrometer — to measure humidity — and an electrometer — to determine electrical activity. He also used a ribbon and scissors to determine the rise and fall of the balloon and a pen and pencil to ascertain if thin air affected their use. Today marks his birthday in 1744, known as National Weatherman’s Day. Thanks to Cookies by Design for their Weatherman’s Day gifts. Fastcast: Early rain.