Page:Evolution of the thermometer.djvu/9

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8
EVOLUTION OF THE THERMOMETER.

"the thermometer was invented by Drebbel." And yet it is easy to show that the Hollander had no part in the invention and never claimed it, and that the error originated in the misinterpretation of a simple experiment described by Drebbel in a treatise on the "Elements."

Cornelius Drebbel, born in Alkmaar, Holland, 1572, was as alchemist who claimed to have discovered perpetual motion, and acquired sufficient reputation for learning to be invited to the court of James II, King of England; to him he dedicated his treatise on Primum mobile in 1607. Later in life he visited Prague where Rudolph had gathered famous alchemists, astrologers, and magicians, as well as more reputable astronomers, artists, antiquarians, and skilled mechanics; Drebbel, however, was unsuccessful in sustaining his claim to the discovery of perpetual motion, and Emperor Rudolph threw him into prison, from which he was released 'ere long by the death of the monarch, in 1612.

I have in my private library two copies of Drebbel's rare little volume, one in Dutch bearing the title: "Van de elementen quinta essentia en primum mobile, Amsterdam, 1709," and with a second title-page having the words: