| Looking Back Looking Forward |

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Thermometers

What kind of thermometer(s) have you used this year?


The year 2020 probably beat out any other year for the number of times people got their temperature taken. Daily? Twice a day? Thrice? The answer would depend on where you live and where you wanted to go! What kind of thermometer(s) have you used this year?



Galileo Galilei has done it again! The Italian inventor used the common knowledge that liquids expand when they are warm, and contract when they are cool — and took it one step further to develop the thermoscope. This was a test tube filled with water and glass bulbs, which rose and fell with the changing temps. Sorry, no data available on exactly how cold or hot it was, just that a change occurred.


Ah, now you can finally tell the temperature with a brand-new apparatus called the thermometer (using the brand-new system of measuring!). Daniel Fahrenheit (of the °F fame) included numbers on his test tube — with 32 degrees as the freezing point and 212 degrees as the boiling point. And he used mercury as the liquid instead of alcohol because mercury can measure temperatures. Wonder if Daniel knew that one day his last name would be a household word?!

1750 (approx.)

If you find the numbers on the Fahrenheit scale to be quite confusing, so do most others! Thank you Anders Celsius for making a fix. On his scale, 0 is the point at which water freezes and 100 the point at which it boils. Most of the world uses the Celsius system… except for the good ol’ US of A.


Phew! Now mothers don’t have to rely on their hands to feel if their kids have temperature. Kudos to English physician Sir Thomas Allbutt for inventing the first practical thermometer for measuring body temps. It was six inches long and able to record the temperature in five minutes. I’m sure the lines at his practice were out the door. (Or not!)


The increase in demand for non-contact infrared thermometers due to COVID caused the industry to grow 55% in the past year. Lucky for those in the business of manufacturing and selling them!


Care to share your personal body temp to further global wellness info? Just take your temp and upload it to a special app that tracks areas where the temperatures are high. Or maybe just get the info so you know where not to vacation this summer!


“Rubber Ducky, you’re the one… you make bath time so much fun…” and safe, too. Now the rubber ducky checks the temp of the bathwater and beeps when it gets too hot for the kiddies.



Hospital patients can finally say good bye to those night-shift nurses who come around to take your temperature. All you gotta do is wear the wireless, wearable, fever armband that constantly monitors your temp and sounds an alarm to alert the nurse or caretaker. Don’t like germs? No problem. They can be printed from a certain type of inkjet printer and tossed after each use.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 865)

Oops! We could not locate your form.