The history and development of mercury thermometers

Among his other achievements was the discovery of the "Joule-Thomson Effect" of gases and his work on the first transatlantic telegraph cable for which he was knightedand his inventing of the mirror galvanometer used in cable signaling, the siphon recorder, the mechanical tide predictor, an improved ship's compass.

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Between October and Januaryaboutelectronic thermometers were sold and about one million mercury thermometers together containing about 1 tonne of mercury were collected.

Basal temperature alterations are used to determine fertility and ovulation in women trying to conceive. Only some materials are suitable for this purpose, and they may be considered as "thermometric materials".

A brief history of thermometers

Such fixed points, for example, triple points and superconducting transitions, occur reproducibly at the same temperature. The basic principle behind a thermometer, the expansion of air by heat and contraction by cold, was know many hundreds of years earlier.

Along with Galileo, several other scientists developed better and more accurate thermometers. To reset the thermometer it must be swung sharply.

In practice, several materials gave very similar temperatures to each other and, when discovered, to the thermodynamic temperature. An astronomer called Roemer in Copenhagen chose ice and the boiling point of water as his two reference points, and started keeping weather records, but there were still uncertainties about how to devise an accurate scale that would be reliable everywhere.


The scale of the thermometer was debated until Daniel Fahrenheit developed the Fahrenheit scale nearly years after the air thermometer was invented. An example of a reference thermometer used to check others to industrial standards would be a platinum resistance thermometer with a digital display to 0.

InSir Thomas Allbutt created a clinical thermometer that could take a temperature reading in 5 minutes. A thermoscope could show the differences in temperature, allowing observers to know if something was getting hotter or colder.

When the temperature falls, the column of mercury breaks at the constriction and cannot return to the bulb, thus remaining stationary in the tube.

The thermometers used to measure body temperature are called medical thermometers. In Galileo tried it with wine instead, and so is credited with the first alcohol thermometer. The best known of these fixed points are the melting and boiling points of pure water.

This is because it rests mainly on a universality character of thermodynamic equilibrium, that it has the universal property of producing blackbody radiation.

Because there were steps between the two states, it was called a "centigrade" scale. Several such principles are essentially based on the constitutive relation between the state of a suitably selected particular material and its temperature.

This turned out to be He and an assistant discovered that the aurora borealis had an influence on compass needles. Inhis collection of observations of the aurora borealis was published and in he took part in the French expedition sent to measure one degree of meridian in the polar regions.

Santorio invented several instruments, a wind gauge, a water current meter, the "pulsilogium," and a thermoscope, a precursor to the thermometer. A Brief History of Thermometry All thermometers work on the principle of detecting changes in the physical properties of things as temperature changes.

As early as BC, Philo of Byzantium noted the expansion and contraction of air with hot and cold. Alcohol thermometers, infrared thermometers, mercury-in-glass thermometers, recording thermometers, thermistors, and Six's thermometers are used in meteorology and climatology in various levels of the atmosphere and oceans.

Ina German instrument maker called Gabriel Fahrenheit settled on mercury as the most suitable liquid for measuring temperature.

He calibrated his first thermometer using a mixture of ice and water with sea salt as his zero. The most common is the alcohol or mercury thermometer. These are the most accurate and measure the air temperature by the expansion of the fluid in a thin, enclosed glass tube.

Another way of measuring air temperature is by measuring the expansion of different metals. Development Of The Thermometer What is a thermometer? A little bit of history. The first modern thermometer, the mercury thermometer with a standardized scale, was invented by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in Today’s thermometers are made in different ways.

The most common is the alcohol or mercury thermometer. These are the most accurate and measure the air temperature by the expansion of the fluid in a thin, enclosed glass tube.

The history and development of mercury thermometers
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Temperature: Facts, History & Definition