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Hunter type clinical thermometer, London, England, 1795-1805

The clinical thermometer differs from an ordinary thermometer. It measures only over a limited temperature range relating to body temperatures. This early example is one of a type devised by Scottish anatomist and surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793). Clinical thermometers were used in medicine for some time before 1850. However, it was only after that they began being used as precise instruments to diagnose disease. They were also used to predict a disease’s course through recognising the temperature patterns of specific diseases. This example has a Fahrenheit scale. It was made by optician and nautical instrument maker William Cary.

Object number:

A87621

Glossary:

Glossary: thermometer

Instruments for measuring temperature by utilizing the variation of the physical properties of substances according to their thermal states..

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.