Hicks Kata Thermometer

In 1913 Leonard Hill, a British physiologist interested in the relationship between atmosphere and health, described a Kata thermometer (Hill’s term) that represented the humidity in terms of the time it took for the enclosed liquid to fall a certain amount. This example is an alcohol-in-glass thermometer with a large cylindrical bulb and enlargements at the lower and upper ends of the stem. The alcohol is violet-colored (mostly faded to orange). The milk-white back of the stem is marked “J. Hicks 8 9 & 10 Hatton Garden London No 261 F531.” The front is marked “Fahrt” and has a scale reading from 100 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in tenths.
Ref.: Leonard Hill, et. al., “The Influence of the Atmosphere on our Health and Comfort in Confined and Crowded Places,” Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 60 (1913), #23.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Hicks Kata thermometer
date made
J. J. Hicks
overall: 8 1/2 in; 21.59 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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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