This feat is conventionally credited to the renowned Italian astronomer and physicist, Galileo (1564-1642). Galileo’s instrument, built about 1592, used an inverted glass vessel in which changes of temperature caused the expansion and contraction of the air within it thus changing the level of the liquid in the partially filled vessel’s long, open-mouthed neck.

The German physicist, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1886-1736), developed accurate mercury thermometers which he calibrated to the standard scale that now bears his name. The first centigrade was developed in 1742 by a Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius (1701-1744). It was known simply as the centigrade scale until in 1948 when the name was changed to honor Celsius.

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