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Bath thermometer
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Object statement
Bath thermometer, 'Dr Forbes Specifications', metal / glass / mercury, manufacturer unknown, 20th century
Bathing has been an important part of the nursing care of patients, not just for cleanliness, but for the treatment of various conditions. The correct temperature of the bath has also been stressed, and not only because the nurse must take care not to scald the patient. Early 20th century texts on nursing at home and in hospital contain lists of specific types of baths, beginning with an alkaline (Bicarbonate of soda) bath at 90° for skin diseases, a cold Brand bath at 70° to 80° for typhoid fever, and a brine bath at about 70° as a general tonic and stimulant.

The mercury thermometer was invented by Daniel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) in 1714 and in 1724 he introduced the temperature scale that bears his name. Improvements on his thermometer and variations for specific purposes have been produced ever since. Bath thermometers are sometimes made to float by being enclosed in a wooden casing. This particular example does not have a wooden casing, but fits into a cylindrical case with an attachment ring at one end.

It is made to 'Dr Forbes Specifications'. Dr Forbes stated that his scale is "founded on practical indications". It is laid out, not in single values, but in ranges; cold 33-60 degrees [Fahrenheit], cool 60-75, temperate 75-85, tepid 85-92, warm 92-98, and hot 98-112.

This bath thermometer enhances the Powerhouse Museum's collections of thermometers and medical equipment.

References
Titchener, E. B., "The Psychophysics of Climate", The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1909), pp. 1-14

The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, edited by J. Forbes, A. Tweedie, and J. Connolly, 1833, p 245

Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, January 2009.
Dr Forbes stated that his scale is "founded on practical indications". It is laid out, not in single values, but in ranges; cold 33-60 degrees [Fahrenheit], cool 60-75, temperate 75-85, tepid 85-92, warm 92-98, and hot 98-112.

Reference:
Titchener, E. B., "The Psychophysics of Climate", The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1909), pp. 1-14

The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, edited by J. Forbes, A. Tweedie, and J. Connolly, 1833, p 245

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Small mercury thermometer, with the temperature scale printed on paper enclosed between the thermometer's inner and outer glass casings. The paper also bears the wording, 'Dr Forbes Specifications'. The thermometer fits into a cylindrical metal case, with screw-on cap at one end and an attachment ring at the other.
2005/43/1
Diameter
12 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Source unknown
Subjects
+ Health
+ Personal hygiene
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Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/288673
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/288673 |title=Bath thermometer |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=22 October 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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