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Different types[edit]

How about thermometers that use color changing materials to determine body temperature? Jaberwocky6669 22:24, Mar 12, 2005 (UTC)

 Done. This article now briefly mentions "Medical thermometers such as ... liquid crystal thermometers ... ". --DavidCary (talk) 17:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


Wikipedia mentions that this article lacks sources. I submit that this article is as accurate and non-specific as it can be/needs to be. It is simply an introduction and does not need sources as its' source material is those links at the bottom of the page that have all the citations necessary with the information. I also do not believe that it is contradictory with the timeline article, as the exact date is unknown, as well are all the facts on this subject not completely known. This is as accurate as this article need be and is purposfully split beyond that to limit its' size. Please refer to all articles on this subject for a complete range of resources and review other information to come to a conslusion as to exact dates as these are still in debate. ---- unsigned comment was added by Borghuman (talkcontribs) .

As far as I can tell this debate will be continued well into eternity unless someone can invent a time machine and settle it once and for all. -—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Borghuman (talkcontribs) .

I found out that Galileo Galilei invented a rudimentary water thermometer in 1593, Yet in here Timeline_of_temperature_and_pressure_measurement_technology it said Galileo invented it in 1592. Which is it? -—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wiz126 (talkcontribs) .

I have no idea, but what was your source? This should probably be cited, too... -postglock 04:17, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I've also added similar tags at Timeline of temperature and pressure measurement technology. -postglock 04:21, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I did a little search and I found Galileo Galilei in the Table of Notable Modern Inventions and Discoveries on the History Channle. According to them, Galilei invented the Water thermometer in 1593 Here is the link (scroll down a little) History Channle Link. --Wiz126 05:17, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

For some reason I forgot to Google first :-)... Strange though, because I seem to get a similar amount of hits for Galileo thermometer 1592 (704) as I do for Galileo thermometer 1593 (640). I'm not really sure what to think. The History Channel is not the most reliable of sources, but I'm not sure what other authoritative sources we might find this information in. Perhaps we could just give a date range? -postglock 00:28, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Although the history channle is not the most reliable source I do think its allot more reliable then other sources. Here is another Source About they say 1593 a well. --Wiz126 02:10, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I do agree that it is more reliable than other internet sources. My point is that there are plenty of other sources that also say 1592 (and some that say 1606, etc) if you google for it... I am just not sure what to do in a case like this, where the date is far from definitive. -postglock 11:55, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

You say that "The thermometer was invented in 1592(source), however others claim it was in 1593(next source) while others give 1606(third source)." or something like that. Thus it's up to the reader what they want to believe. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 19:49, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Fair call, but in this case, with so many sources, and with none of them particularly reliable, seems almost moot to list sources, really. -postglock 03:18, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that was based on the sources being reliable. All you really need though i someone with access to a better public library than I do is to go and look through some reference material and see what they say. The sources don't have to be online. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 15:19, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
I believe the original source is Life of Galileo by Vincenzo Viviani, which says (in translation) "about the time Galileo took the chair of mathematics in Padua at the end of 1592, he invented the thermometer, a glass containing air and water". Notice the word "about", the fact that it was the end of 1592, and the fact that the process of invention may have taken months from the idea to the first working model.Chemical Engineer 12:48, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

i thought galileo created the thermoscope not the thermometer since it didn't have measurements, Santorio added a scale and created the first thermometer or am i wrong?

No, your right, I think. Though I do beleive that it was more than just Santorio that created the thermometer. I could be wrong too, though. Afterall, adding a scale to an invetion can't be that hard, can it? (unsigned)

Things that seem obvious in hindsight can be very hard. Converting arbitrary levels of hotness to a linear scale is a major step, and puts the 'meter' in thermometer.Chemical Engineer 15:04, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Use of thermometers and mercury[edit]

Is it possible for mercury to be used in thermometers in this day and age? I'm an unsure whether the chemical is easy to obtain and cheap, or have the ability to be placed in a clock device that tells the temperature. Daily Rubbings 16:35, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, mercury-in-glass and mercury-in-steel thermometers are still in use.Chemical Engineer 15:04, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's quite that simple. Yes, many mercury-in-glass thermometers are still in use. However, in many countries mercury thermometers are not recommended or entirely banned for most uses -- see mercury-in-glass thermometer#Phase-out. Airlines also generally ban mercury -- see mercury (element)#Amalgams. Confusing the issue, around here -- and I presume other places as well -- many people say "mercury thermometer" to refer to devices that look a lot like traditional mercury-in-glass thermometers, but actually contain Galinstan or alcohol thermometer.

The mercury-in-steel thermometers, on the other hand -- there seems to be a glaring lack of information in Wikipedia about them. --DavidCary (talk) 18:57, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Distinction between thermometers and temperature sensors[edit]

It seems to me, by reading this article, that not all temperature sensors can properly be called thermometers; that thermometers are only one class of a specific type of temperature sensor. If this is correct, then the articles definitely should not be merged. Shanoman 22:01, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

A thermometer consists of a temperature sensor and a read-out device. For a mercury-in-glass unit, the bulb is the sensor and the scale is the read-out device. A thermocouple has to be combined with electronics to make an industrial thermometer.Chemical Engineer 15:04, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree that Wikipedia should clearly describe the distinction between the two. However, since they are closely related, I think Wikipedia only needs a single article that covers both of them (and also explains the distinction between them). This is similar to the way there is a distinction between a "block" and a "tackle", but a single "block and tackle" article covers both. So I think temperature sensor should redirect to thermometer, as it already does. --DavidCary (talk) 17:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


The paragraph "This history of the thermometer, etc" is the blurb for a book, pasted from the publisher's web page [[1]]. The book is not credited. Copyright?Chemical Engineer 15:04, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

So I have removed it.Chemical Engineer 13:42, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

You've been visited by "The Pit" Enjoy —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if "the Pit" (above) inserted the obscene vandalism in the first line of the article which I have just deleted. ReggyRaccoon 05:16, 13 September 2007 (UTC) Very likely, I have noticed the same question raised on some other Wiki Discussion pages, despite this happening over three years ago I have witnessed som as late as 2009 that have been visited by "The Pit". Seems he/she may have been usuing many different I.P. addresses as he was not blocked. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 7 November 2010 (UTC)


this helped with homework alot! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

1/1, 2/1[edit]

All the thermometers here in Taiwan have a curious "1/1" next to the centigrade scale, and "2/1" next to the Fahrenheit scale (unlike any of Commons:Category:Measuring_instruments we see.) Please mention what this is all about. Jidanni (talk) 01:30, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I surmise this means that the calibration marks equate to one degree on the Celsius side and two degrees on the Fahrenheit. Chemical Engineer (talk) 16:15, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
As Chemical Engineer alluded to, thermometers with one mark per degree Celsius on one side and one mark per two degrees Fahrenheit on the other are extremely common.[2][3][4][5][6]
However, I very rarely see the "1/1" or "2/1" marks.
The speculation that they have something to do with marks per degree is consistent with one catalog[7] that shows these marks.
I wish I had an explicit statement about what they mean that I could use as a reference in the main article.
--DavidCary (talk) 17:26, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Merge proposal with basal thermometer[edit]

Basal thermometer does not have any future as a full-fledged article. About everything that could be said about them is already there, and it's about section-sized. So I propose making it a section in this article instead. LyrlTalk C 13:47, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree--AssegaiAli (talk) 10:31, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree as well. Also, people may not think to search Basal thermometer when looking for that, and will probably just search thermometer. (talk) 02:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

4thed. Basal has been redirected/merged to Medical thermometer in the interim. I just actually proposed that medical be merged here as well since that's also section-sized. I've done requisite tags and posted it to WP:PM. Travellingcari (talk) 01:21, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal with medical thermometer[edit]

this section needed to be here, so I'm adding it. Pdbailey (talk) 04:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Oppose. The concepts are clearly different and the topics covered are different (one is about thermometers, the other about how the same is applied to humans). I would find the information in medical thermometers odd in this article. Pdbailey (talk) 04:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Oppose The two articles are different. This article should be about the thermometer in general. Types of thermometers should be seperate. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 16:32, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Comment "Types of thermometers should be seperate". In theory, I agree with you. However there isn't enough in either basal (which got redirected to medical anyway) or medical to warrant a separate article. Thermometer is a fine article but Medical thermometer has been tagged for improvement/expansion for a year and there just isn't much that can be done with it. It's not particularly encyclopedic yet I don't think it's bad enough to be deleted. It was my theory that merging it would be a way to centralize the information. IMO, who's going to look to Wiki for info on a medical thermometer? To me, that's a google question whereas Thermometer itself is ore encyclopedic. Oh and apologies for not getting this section here in the first place, I never quite get them on the right talk pages with the merge tags. Travellingcari (talk) 17:06, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
What about the other short thermometer articles other than medical? CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 21:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Could they all be covered succinctly in Thermometer? I don't know, I haven't read them all. I stumbled on Medical thermometer at random, literally, via Special:Random and based my opinion based on that. Also note the basal discussion above, there is clearly a line of thinking that these articles aren't substantive enough to stand on their own. I'm not sure whether they all should be merged here or into one article along the lines of types of thermometers, which could easily be linked from here. Not sure if that's ideal either but it's an option. Thoughts on that? Travellingcari (talk) 22:22, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Some of the articles are fairly short but some are not. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 17:07, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
True, and over at Medical thermometer someone just made a suggestion of how to expand that. I'm not 100% convinced that the types of thermometers couldn't be merged, but the length of the others is a valid concern. Travellingcari (talk) 01:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Support. In medical settings, a variety of different types of thermometers are used, including mercury thermometers and digital thermometers and infrared thermometers. There is nothing patently "medical" about any of the thermometers used in clinical practice today and the topic does not warrant its own article, at least as it stands now. The topics of human body temperature measurement in health and disease is thoroughly discussed in the entries on "thermoregulation," "fever," "hyperthemria," and "hypothermia." -Tsoni Peled, medical student —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Oppose. As above. Dicklyon (talk) 06:31, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Pill Thermometer[edit]

I just wrote a small article on Pill Thermometers which should probably be linked from here, but I'm not sure where to best fit it in, or if it should be linked from one of the more specific types of thermometer pages themselves. Any Suggestions? Thavelick (talk) 01:21, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and added a link in the Thermometer Types Section. Thavelick (talk) 17:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Accuracy of Thermometers Throughout Their History[edit]

Can someone add information about the accuracy of thermometers as they developed through history? How would the accuracy of a thermometer read by eye compare to digital thermometers? In 1880, would they round to the nearest degree when recording temperatures for weather records? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


This article does not mention these, nor is there a separate article about them. Could someone add this? E-pen (talk) 15:06, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Phosphor Thermometry[edit]

This is a method of determining temperature, but not a thermometer.Chemical Engineer (talk) 22:06, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Accuracy +[edit]

The statement under the heading Accuracy of "the stated precision is false" is incorrect. There is nothing wrong with reporting a temperature such as 23.2 +/- 2.0. The science literature is full of such statements. The readout to the 1/10th degree is indeed accurate as long as it is always accompanied by the manufacturer's reported +/-. The paragraph should be modified to be a warning that it is incorrect to assume +/- 1 of the last digit as the error for many digitial thermometers.


This article does not currently touch on the use of thermometers, which is quite a surprise. I've dropped its class to C because of this. I've started the new section, but like other areas of the article, it needs more references before it can regain B class. Thegreatdr (talk) 23:45, 25 February 2010 (UTC)How is it you have this authority? I thought it is required to be a collaborative effort? How is it you put it upon yourself to determine what Class this or any other Wiki is solely based on your opinion? I am quite serious about this and am not berating you, I want to know how it is you have any more authority than anyone else. Thank You.

How do Minimum Temperature Thermometers work?[edit]

Removal of the claim that ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) invented the thermometer[edit]

I'm going to remove the claim that ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) invented the thermometer from this page and elsewhere on wikipedia. For full details of why I believe this claim is mistaken, please see my userspace page User:Syncategoremata/Ibn Sīnā and the invention of the thermometer. The short version is that the claim depends on Briffault, Robert (1919). The Making of Humanity. London: George Allen & Unwin.  In turn that appears to depend on Humboldt, Alexander von (1848). Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe. 2. Elise C. Otté (trans.). London: Henry G. Bohn.  And Humboldt is clearly mistaken. Further, no modern authority gives credit to ibn Sīnā for this invention.

Proposed merge.[edit]

A temperature gauge is, as it appears from the very short article, just another name for a thermometer. bd2412 T 15:18, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

 Done. temperature gauge is now a redirect to thermometer. --DavidCary (talk) 17:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


Mercury is increasingly being phased out in favour of Galinstan as the liquid-metal of choice for a liquid-metal-in-glass thermometer yet so far galinstan has not merited a mention on this page only elsewhere - Mercury-in-glass thermometer.

A galinstan-in-glass thermometer is not a type of mercury-in-glass thermometer it is a type of liquid-metal-in-glass thermometer so should be mentioned on this page and perhaps there should be a new page "Liquid-metal-in-glass thermometer" mentioning mercury's historic significance and its phase out in favour of galinstan?

Peter Dow (talk) 03:24, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

What about Carl Ehrle ???[edit]

The clinical thermometer, invented by Dr. Carl Ehrle in 1868, was also in use. Before this time, the thermometer showed the temperature only while in situ. Since this thermometer was inserted into the rectum the reading was disagreeable to the physician and embarrassing to the nurse . Trente7cinq (talk) 17:21, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

New edit by Thegreatdr[edit]

Today a new edit was posted by Thegreatdr. That edit cluttered the lead with detail belonging to a point of view about the importance of the uses of thermometers. I moved the material to the section on the uses of thermometers. This section would now benefit from some judicious detailed editing.Chjoaygame (talk) 23:04, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

The lead is supposed to summarize the article below, and there was nothing about the uses of thermometers within the lead. I summarized the usage section and placed that info into the lead. Per the manual of style, for an article this long, a 3-4 paragraph lead is acceptable. Before, and now, and lead is falling way short of its wikipedia-intended purpose. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Fair comment, Thegreatdr. The lead could well be expanded. Perhaps you might like to do it. You will need to do something more than simply lift details from one section. What you posted was not a summary, and it was from only one section, almost as long as the section itself; far from what is needed. The lead should cover the whole article, and should indeed be a summary. To write such a summary will call for a general overview of the whole article, which will call for some thought in its writing.Chjoaygame (talk) 06:37, 31 May 2011 (UTC)


I am not a Wikilawyer so I don't know the exact rules. Editors need to bear in mind that self-promotion per se is forbidden in Wikipedia.Chjoaygame (talk) 14:23, 18 January 2013 (UTC)


I recently added a hatnote to PTAT to mention one particular sensor proportional to absolute temperature. Should this thermometer article specifically mention the PTAT acronym, and should that hatnote be repointed to this thermometer article? --DavidCary (talk) 17:47, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Clinical use[edit]

Peripheral thermometers aren't very good in clinical settings, and central probes are better. doi:10.7326/M15-1150 JFW | T@lk 15:42, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

It depends on the clinical setting.Chjoaygame (talk) 22:54, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

precision of atmospheric pressure[edit]

An edit by Editor Doug butler has changed the value given for the reference atmospheric pressure. A reliable source seems called for. If none is forthcoming I will undo the edit as unsourced.Chjoaygame (talk) 22:08, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Second edit by User:Doug butler further amended that figure: blue link to Standard pressure takes you to reference. Doug butler (talk) 22:17, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
As a scientific principle, a conversion should not show a higher degree of precision than the primary figure, or that is irreproducible. As a humorous example I once had a copy of Guinness Book of Animal Records, in which every entry had such conversions as "Tallest giraffe 23 ft (7.0104 m)". And see MOS:UNCERTAINTY, MOS:CONVERSIONS. Doug butler (talk) 22:49, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
On this reasoning, to avoid excess precision, I suggest another solution. The sentence was about "the traditional method". That is history, not decided by IUPAC or any such subsequent thing. I favour this:

The traditional method of putting a scale on a liquid-in-glass or liquid-in-metal thermometer was in three stages:

  1. Immerse the sensing portion in a stirred mixture of pure ice and water at atmospheric pressure and mark the point indicated when it had come to thermal equilibrium.
  2. Immerse the sensing portion in a steam bath at atmospheric pressure and again mark the point indicated.
  3. Divide the distance between these marks into equal portions according to the temperature scale being used.
No excess precision in that!Chjoaygame (talk) 01:41, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Editor Doug butler has made a further edit here, putting back his ahistorical view about how to calibrate a thermometer, without responding here on the talk page to the immediately foregoing comment. The sentence is about the tradition, not about current best practice. If Editor Doug butler wants to post something about current best practice, he is free to do so, of course, but he should make it clear that he is not referring to historical tradition.Chjoaygame (talk) 21:36, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
My addition of the word Standard to "atmospheric pressure" is important, as the boiling point of water varies hugely with atmospheric pressure, which of course is highly variable as well as being dependent on altitude. Of course the effect on the melting point of ice is practically nil. Doug butler (talk) 22:08, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for this response. The issue here is the distinction between historical tradition and current best practice. The issue is not whether the boiling point of water depends on atmospheric pressure and that such is important for thermometric calibration. Your post does not deal with the difference between these two issues. Your post raises a point of precision, but does not rest on fair examination of reliable sources. None is cited. A link is not a reference to a source. Since you are so concerned for precision, you would be expected to have checked the tradition that in effect you are questioning. But your post does not report such a check. As your post stands, it seems anachronistic. An explicitly relevant reliable source is needed to deal with this. You are the obvious one to supply it, since you raised the question and posted your answer.Chjoaygame (talk) 01:51, 15 March 2016 (UTC)