Page:Evolution of the thermometer.djvu/15

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EVOLUTION OF THE THERMOMETER.

This interesting account is accompanied by two illustrations, copies of which are here given.

Credit for the invention of the primitive form of the thermometer really belongs to the famous Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei, notwithstanding he made no claim to having devised the instrument and his extant writings contain only a casual allusion to it. It must be remembered, however, that most of the manuscripts of Galileo have been lost; many were consigned to the flames by his own grandson, Cosimo, and those rescued by his pupil, Viviani, were edited only in part, the precious originals being scattered by the ignorant persons into whose possession they came. In the voluminous correspondence that Galileo carried on with contemporary savants, there is abundant evidence that he was the inventor of the thermometer, that he used it in scientific research and labored to improve its efficiency, as he had done for the pendulum, the compass, the telescope, and the microscope.

Viviani, in his Life of Galileo, published in 1718, says that about the time Galileo took possession of the chair of mathematics in Padua, which was at the end of the year 1592, he in-