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Thermometer scale

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probably made in London

Thermometer scale
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This scale is part of a differential thermometer (pictured here with its instruction manual) devised by William Hawks Grice around 1820. The thermometer appears to have been made for botanical use, at a time when interest was growing in plants from exotic locations which needed to live in hot-houses in order to survive.

This engraved brass scale is shown alongside an instruction book dated 1818, which describes and illustrates the complete instrument. The centre of the plate has an 'IMPROVED / BOTANIC SCALE' noting the temperatures associated with 9 hothouse plants. The reverse gives the temperature of the waters at various fashionable spas, and the 'Heat of hedge-hog and marmot in a torpid state' at 30 degrees!

William Hawks Grice advertised himself as 'by appointment to their Majesties and the Royal Family'. He was based in New Bond Street as successor to Alexander Fraser, and was in turn succeeded in business by the Dixey firm (which also held a Royal Appointment). Hawks Grice is recorded at this address between 1818 and 1823, and clearly catered for wealthy clients.

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