James Green Minimum Thermometer

James Green Minimum Thermometer

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This alcohol-in-glass Rutherford-type thermometer is mounted on a flat brass plate marked "NO. 1483 SIGNAL SERVICE U.S.A." and "JAS. GREEN NEW YORK." A white porcelain strip on the plate is graduated every 5 degrees Fahrenheit from -35 to+115. The bulb is spherical. The stem is marked "U.S. 1483" and graduated (but not numbered) every degree Fahrenheit from -35 to +122. It was made between 1870 (when the U.S. Signal Service established a national weather service) and 1879 (when James Green took his nephew into partnership and began trading as J. & H. J. Green).
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
Object Name
date made
place made
United States: New York, New York City
plate: 12 in; 30.48 cm
tube: 10 1/2 in; 26.67 cm
overall: 12 in x 15/16 in x 7/16 in; 30.48 cm x 2.38125 cm x 1.11125 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Weather Bureau
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Thermometers and Hygrometers
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object