Model of thermometer

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Postcard of Model of thermometer.
© National Museums Scotland

Model of thermometer

This model of a spiral thermometer dates from around 1830. It was probably made as a teaching aid to illustrate a form of thermometer that uses the expansion effect to uncoil a strip laminated from two different metals, with different expansion rates.

The thermometer has a brass spiral strip supported at its upper end by a vertical brass arm. An iron pointer attached to the lower end lies above an ungraduated brass ring which rests on three feet.

As this instrument is made from only one metal spiral, it could not function. It has been suggested that it was used as a reminder to show a large class in a demonstration.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-044-109-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1858.275.8
Date: Around 1830
c. 1830
Material: Brass
What: Thermometer
Who: Edinburgh University (Owner)
Joseph Black (Possible owner)
Professor Gregory (Possible owner)
Professor Hope (Possible owner)
Where: Scotland
Description: One of a collection of apparatus and instruments from Edinburgh University used by Professors Black, Hope and Gregory - a thermometer formed of a spiral of brass
  • Anderson, R. G. W., The Playfair Collection. Edinburgh: 1978, pp 84-5 
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