H. J. Green Minimum Thermometer

This spirit-in-glass Rutherford-type thermometer is mounted on a heavy metal plate marked "HENRY J. GREEN NEW YORK" and "1924." A white porcelain strip on the plate is graduated every 5 degrees Fahrenheit from -85 to +75. The stem is graduated every degree F. from -90 to +110. It was made between 1885 and 1890 when Henry J. Green was in business on his own in New York. It came to the Smithsonian from the U.S. Weather Bureau.
John Rutherford, a Scottish country doctor, devised this form in 1790. Green stated in 1900 that it was "the only one in general use." It has a black index inside the tube. "On a decrease of temperature the alcohol recedes, taking with it the glass index; on an increase of temperature the alcohol alone ascends the tube, leaving the end of the index farthest from the bulb indicating the minimum temperature."
Ref.: Henry J. Green, Meteorological and Scientific Instruments (Brooklyn, 1900), p. 23.
Currently not on view
Object Name
minimum thermometer
date made
H. J. Green
plate: 12 in; 30.48 cm
tube: 11 in; 27.94 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
Thermometers and Hygrometers
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Thermometers and Hygrometers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Weather Bureau

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