What to Know About Galileo ThermometersNowadays, controlling the temperature in our homes with programmable and smart thermostats is something we take for granted. We benefit from the comfort and convenience of such temperature controls thanks to the ingenuity of 17th century Italian physicist Galileo Galile, who made early temperature reading devices possible — including Galileo thermometers.

History of Galileo Thermometers

Prior to 1593, people had no method of accurately reading the temperature of their surroundings. This was the year Galileo discovered it’s possible to measure temperature changes by a predictable reaction in the density of liquids, based on the principle of buoyancy. He then designed a rudimentary device called a thermoscope to detect temperature variations. The thermometer named in Galileo’s honor was invented in 1666 by his students and members of the Italian scientific society, the Accademia del Cimento. More advanced and accurate thermometers quickly made the Galileo model obsolete, but its popularity was revived in the 1990s when the Natural History Museum of London began offering a version.

How Galileo Thermometers Works

For its time, the Galileo thermometer was revolutionary. Compared to today’s high-tech devices, the thermometer’s design was really quite simple: a liquid-filled, sealed glass cylinder containing glass bulbs of varying densities. How the thermometer measures temperature is still fascinating even today:

  • Changes in temperature cause the bulbs within the cylinder to rise or fall based on their density relative to the density of the surrounding liquid.
  • When temperature rises, the density of the liquid in the cylinder decreases, and the bulbs sink.
  • When temperature drops, the bulbs float in response to increased density of the surrounding liquid.
  • The current temperature is determined based on the position of the bulbs at that time.

Temperature Measurement Vs. Temperature Control

Today, Galileo thermometers are interesting conversation pieces, but even modern versions simply measure and display temperature. To create a comfortable indoor environment, we have advanced thermostats that work in sync with a home’s HVAC system and can monitor and adjust temperature, humidity and air quality.

To learn about effective temperature control options for your Indianapolis home, contact us today at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).