Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Fahrenheit Is Turning Over in His Grave

But as of today the federal government has more or less killed the mercury thermometer in the United States—NIST has announced it will no longer calibrate mercury thermometers. This means companies and labs will have a harder time ensuring the thermometers' accuracy, all but forcing a switch to other instruments.

I'll never forget when I saved the money to be an "official" quality thermometer (the same one used by the Weather Bureau) for my backyard weather station.

Dr. Daniel G. Fahrenheit (1686-1736) was the inventor of the mercury thermometer. It has been one of the longest lived and best performing scientific measuring devices ever. In the United States, the desire to know the temperature is second only to wanting to know the time.

So, today's announcement was the beginning of the end for the mercury thermometer. It served us well for nearly 300 years.


  1. I had that very max/min thermometer you've pictured when I was a kid. What a sad state we've reached when a thermometer is deemed "unsafe" for human consumption. I feel sorryand scared for what my kids will face....

  2. Agree 100%. When I was young, you could purchase mercury at the local "science store." I played with it all the time and never suffered any ill effects.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.