J. & H. J. Green Minimum Thermometer

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This is an alcohol-in-glass Rutherford-type thermometer. The back of the stem is milk glass. The clear front is marked "J. & H. J. Green. N.Y." and "Signal Service U.S. Army No. 14" and graduated every degree Fahrenheit from -90 to +135. It was made between 1879 and 1885 (when James Green worked in partnership with his nephew Henry).
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
date made
J. & H. J. Green
place made
United States: New York, New York
overall: 12 in; 30.48 cm
overall: 12 in x 5/8 in; 30.48 cm x 1.5875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Weather Bureau
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Thermometers and Hygrometers
Data Source
National Museum of American History