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The History of Thermometers

The precursor to the thermometer was the thermoscope, a device that could show differences in temperature, but could not measure temperature in degrees. Several people invented themoscopes in the 1500s and 1600s, but the first thermometer didn’t come around until the early 1700s, when Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented several versions in a row. He invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709 and the mercury thermometer in 1714. Then, in 1724, he introduced the Fahrenheit scale, making it possible to accurately record changes in temperature. Anders Celsius later introduced the Celsius scale in 1742. The first practical medical thermometer designed for taking the temperature of a human being was invented by Sir Thomas Allbutt in 1867. Since then, ear thermometers, infrared thermometers, and digital thermometers have been introduced over the course of the latter half of the 20th century.

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