Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Spiral thermometers
    • Setting:
      Room VIII
    • Maker:
    • Place:
    • Date:
      mid-17th cent.
    • Materials:
    • Dimensions:
      min. height 300 mm, max. 340 mm
    • Inventory:
      193, 194/a, 194/b
    • Spiral thermometers (Inv. 193, 194/a, 194/b)
    • Spiral thermometers (Inv. 193, 194/a, 194/b)

Set of four thermometers with spiral or "snail" stems. These carry 420 enamel buttons indicating the degrees of one of the thermometric scales used by the Accademia del Cimento. The black buttons indicate single degrees, the white buttons ten degrees, and the blue buttons one hundred degrees. The thermometric liquid is acquarzente. As noted by the academicians themselves in Saggi di naturali esperienze [Examples of natural experiments] (Florence, 1667), this type of thermometer was less fragile than longer models, but it was built "rather for the eccentricity and for the curiosity of seeing the water run the dozens of degrees, moved by the simple closeness of breath, than for determining correct and infallible proportions of heat and cold."