Minneapolis-Honeywell T111 Chronotherm Thermostat

The Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota manufactured this Chronotherm thermostat around 1940. This Chronotherm is the first in the line to have a numerical clock and not an analog clock to turn the thermostat on and off. This Chronotherm was advertised as the first to “make automatic heating automatic” and touted the benefits of saving fuel as patriotic and helping the war effort. The digital clock mechanism did not work as well as the previous analog clock’s and the design was quickly discontinued.
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 user 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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 3 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in x 2 13/16 in; 9.5504 cm x 13.97 cm x 7.112 cm
overall: 3 5/8 in x 5 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 9.2075 cm x 13.335 cm x 6.35 cm
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Domestic Furnishings
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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