First on First: The Medical Thermometer

santorio01You’ve most likely used one and you probably own one, but do you know who invented the medical thermometer?

Until the late 17th century, a person’s temperature was taken by using ones hand to detect whether the person was hot or cold. In 1592, Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei invented a temperature-measuring device. This instrument lacked numerical readings and its outcome was affected by atmospheric pressure. Needless to say, this thermometer wasn’t widely used.

17_20pBy 1625, another Italian, Santorio Santorio, built upon Galileo’s invention by creating a thermometer that could read temperatures by being placed in a person’s mouth. He created a series of different designs, but each of his thermometers was cumbersome and took a very long time to get an accurate reading. However, Santorio’s advances in the medical field paved the way for modern medicine to continue to improve upon and utilize the thermometer when treating a patient.

Sources: Galileo Project, Oxford University Press

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