Clinical surface thermometer in leather case

Made:
1875-1885 in London
maker:
J H Steward
Fahrenheit clinical surface thermometer, by Steward of London, c.1880.
      Full view, thermometer alongside leather case. Fahrenheit clinical surface thermometer, by Steward of London, c.1880.
      Detail view of the thermometer, black

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Fahrenheit clinical surface thermometer, by Steward of London, c.1880. Full view, thermometer alongside leather case.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Fahrenheit clinical surface thermometer, by Steward of London, c.1880. Detail view of the thermometer, black
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Fahrenheit clinical surface thermometer in leather case, by Steward of London, c.1880

In this small leather case, sits a surface thermometer designed by physician Joseph Mortimer Granville, (1833-1900). It works on the same principle as a standard thermometer: body temperature causes mercury to expand within a tube and the temperature is read off a graduated scale. However, this thermometer was placed upon the surface of the body. Temperature was read using a tiny magnifying glass also stored within the case.

The clinical thermometer differs from an ordinary thermometer. It measures only over a limited temperature range relating to body temperatures. Such instruments were used in medicine for some time before 1850. However, it was only then they began being used as precise means to diagnose disease. They were also used to predict a disease’s course through recognising the different temperature patterns of specific diseases.

Details

Category:
Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
A600080
Materials:
case, brass, case, leather, case, silk, white, case, velvet, blue, instrument, glass, instrument, ivory, instrument, mercury, instrument, metal, lens, glass and lens, horn
type:
thermometer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument