Hunter type clinical thermometer

Made:
1791-1820 in London
maker:
William Cary

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Clinical mercury thermometer, Fahrenheit, cased, John Hunter's type, by William Cary, London c.1800

The clinical thermometer differs from an ordinary thermometer. It measures only over a limited temperature range relating to body temperatures. This early example is one of a type devised by Scottish anatomist and surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793).

Clinical thermometers were used in medicine for some time before 1850. However, it was only after that they began being used as precise instruments to diagnose disease. They were also used to predict a disease’s course through recognising the temperature patterns of specific diseases. This example has a Fahrenheit scale. It was made by optician and nautical instrument maker William Cary.

Details

Category:
Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
A87621
Materials:
ebony, glass, ivory, mercury and wood
Measurements:
overall (thermometer): 179 mm x 8 mm, 0.018 kg
overall (instrument): 180 mm
overall (case): 185 mm .04kg
overall (both): 0.032 kg
type:
thermometer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
credit:
Stretton, M.J.L.