Punch,  1 (1841), 58.

Punch's Information for the People—No. 2. The Thermometer  [2/5]



Notes, Drollery, Serial


Instruments, Heat, Measurement, Invention, Physics

    Satirical account of the thermometer, its construction, use, etymology, and history. Notes that the instrument is useful for seeing 'how fast a man's blood boils' and that the derivation of its name has caused 'warm discussion'. Traces the 'history' of the instrument from Mercury to Francis Bacon (1st Viscount St Alban), Isaac Newton, Robinson Crusoe, Daniel G Fahrenheit, Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, Anders Celsius, Mr Sex, Réné-Antoine F de Réaumur and Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford). Notes that Fahrenheit's scale was adopted in England because it was 'founded on a mistake', that De Isle's improvements to the thermometer were so important that they were 'never attended to', and that Mr Sex's 'differential thermometer has given rise to considerably more than a half-dozen opinions'. Chastises the 'scientific world' for making the thermometer too complex and of limited use. Announces that Punch has invented a new thermometer that can be understood by 'everybody' and with a temperature scale that is correlated with features of daily life associated with heat—for example, 'iced bath' and 'coat off'.

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