Sears brand Thermostat

This large metal Sears brand thermostat has a clock at the top and a bakelite plastic back. On the front of the thermostat is a glass-tube thermometer with 40-90 temperature markings. The clock has a red minute hand and a standard 60-minute dial. Each side of the thermostat has temperature dials towards the bottom of the device. One dial set the temperature for the day, and the other for the night.
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: 9 in x 3 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 22.86 cm x 8.89 cm x 8.89 cm
overall: 8 3/4 in x 3 1/8 in x 3 5/8 in; 22.225 cm x 7.9375 cm x 9.2075 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Domestic Furnishings
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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