The Honeywell Temperature Regulator

The Honeywell Temperature Regulator was manufactured by the Honeywell Heating Specialties Company of Wabash, Indiana between 1915 and 1918. The Honeywell Temperature Regulator automatically opens and closes the dampers of the furnace via a motor that is activated when the temperature falls below the thermostat’s setting or when activated by the thermostat’s clock. By 1922 the Honeywell Temperature Regulator came in a variety in three different motor types (gravity, spring, or electric) with three different thermostat models (Plain, one-day clock attachment, or eight-day clock attachment) in each motor type that ranged from $22 to $90.00. Honeywell’s advertising touted the thermostat as a new piece of “domestic “engineering” that would be an attractive ornament in any room no matter how rich the furnishings.
The ubiquity of thermostats in 21st century homes shrouds the decades of innovation, industrial design, and engineering that went into making them an everyday object in almost every home. In the early 20th century, a majority of American households still heated their homes with manually operated furnaces that required a trip down to the basement and stoking the coal fired furnace. Albert Butz’s “damper-flapper” system was patented in 1886 and allowed home owner to set the thermostat to a certain temperature which would open a damper to the furnace, increasing the fire and heating the house. Progressive innovations allowed for the thermostats to use gas lines, incorporate electricity, turn on at a set time, include heating and cooling in one mechanism, and even connect to the internet.
clock dime: 2 1/4 in; 5.715 cm
overall: 8 5/8 in x 3 in x 2 5/8 in; 21.9075 cm x 7.62 cm x 6.6675 cm
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Domestic Furnishings
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Object Project
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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