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How warm will it get… The story behind the unusual thermometer

The thermometer in the picture is based on an invention older than all of us. The Galileo thermometer is based on the works of Galileo and his thermoscope. The thermometer is actually very accurate down to just fractions of a degree according to the instructions that come with it. The only thing you have to avoid is putting it near a heating or cooling vent because that will affect its accuracy.

How warm will it get?

The way it works is each bulb is filled with a liquid and that liquid changes density based on the heat in the room, when it reaches a temperature above what is hanging from the bulb, the bulb will sink to the bottom leaving the current temperature at the top.

Not only are they beautiful, but they are very practical because of their accuracy. Most people use them as decoration on a desk at work, but many people still use these in their homes as my mother-in-law does. If you are interested you can find them online for under $30.00 and you too can have a story and some history to tell about your own Galileo Thermometer.


Todd Clark - Broker / Sales Coach
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©2010 Todd Clark - How warm will it get… The story behind the unusual thermometer

Todd Clark (Broker/Owner)
The Friendly Home Team
Realty Pro, Oregon LLC
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)746-9573





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 I am a licensed Realtor who specializes in Washington County, Oregon and also work in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties including the cities of Aloha, Beaverton, Canby, Clackamas, Gladstone, Gresham, Happy Valley, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sherwood and Tigard. All information contained in these posts are copyrighted and cannot be used without prior written approval authorization from the author me Todd Clark. If you are looking for an outstanding agent please give me a call I would love to help you with all your real estate needs.


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Comment balloon 27 commentsThe Friendly Home Team • April 26 2010 12:31AM


Todd, I have seen these thermometers, I thought that was how they worked but I had not researched my theory to see whether I was correct or not.  They are much better looking than the standard thermometer that we see.

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Keller Williams Legacy) almost 7 years ago

That is a lot of fun I had one of those along time ago and enjoyed it.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

A lot of times in older homes you see thermostats that are in the wrong areas of the house.  They may have installed them close to a door where the breeze comes in or is at a colder place of the house.  Obviously if it was installed at those locations it is going to give a false reading everywhere else.  Very interesting, would love to see one.  I will pull up the website and save it, as mercury in the regular thermostat can be very harmful to the environment when disposed of.

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Todd.....I have one.....that's a really cool thermometer.....I love the look.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

They are amazing how they work and that something 400 years old can be so accurate and still used today. Galileo was a truly amazing man with an amazing mind.

Posted by The Friendly Home Team, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Realty Pro Oregon, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I love those thermometers also. Amazing technology for the times.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 7 years ago

Speaking of things rising to the top:



Before I made this comment, you were just 491 points away from ONE MILLION POINTS here on ActiveRAIN.

Of course, now that I've made it, you're even closer.


Looks like Monday is the day to me.   I lose.


As of now I'm starting a new guessing game:  Where will Todd be when he hits a Million.

I'm guessing Seattle.

Anybody else, have a guess.

(Todd, sorry to be trying to highjack your post.  Sort of. 

Probably won't work.  Then I'll really be sorry.)


Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) almost 7 years ago

Yup, I love these...have had 2 of them for years and they are surprisinginly accurate!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 7 years ago

Todd, what happens if it needs to be re-calibrated, can you fill up or remove liquid from the little containers?

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 7 years ago

Interesting stuff on the Galileo thermometer, Todd.

Now please take a break from blogging.

There's no way I'm going to win your Guess when Todd hits the million point mark" contest at this pace!!!!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 7 years ago

Hey Todd, I've seen these gorgeous and brilliant thermometers in person and they are facinating! I think the mechanics behind this invention is beyond cool!

Posted by Cynthia Bartch, Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal (Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio) almost 7 years ago

We have one of these somewhere.  It got moved out of the reach of little hands, but it is still in the house.

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) almost 7 years ago


The picture is great, plus the added effort is commendable. Now featured on "Speechless Sundays." Congratulations. :)


Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) almost 7 years ago

Hi Todd, I have seen them, but never understood how they worked.  Thanks for explaining!

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) almost 7 years ago

Interestingly enough, I just finished watching the PBS documentary, "The Medici - Godfathers of the Renaissance."  I had no idea they had acted as patrons of so many artists and scientists.  They include Botticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Galileo, plus others.  Amazing stuff, especially that Galileo managed to survive the Inquisition, albeit under house arrest in his later years.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hi Todd, One of the best things about AR is how much we all learn from each other. Be it history of a region, or learning how to best employ the different aspects of tehnology. And then there are the back ground stories about things we all familiar with but know little about. Thanks for sharing the background.

Posted by William Johnson, San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE (RE/MAX Associates) almost 7 years ago

I do really like these - they are not only functional - but beautiful, too!


Posted by Debi Boucher, "Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours ( Real Estate Showcase Photography) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the lesson on the thermometer.  Besides being a conversation piece, they are decorative and make for a good picture as in yours above.

Posted by Marlene Hoffman - Naples Beach Condos (Downing-Frye Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Todd  We had one at home when I was in high school - they are really lovely

Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) almost 7 years ago

My grandmother used to have these in her home. I thought it was just for decoration but thanks for the explanation.

Posted by Darrell Walters (W. Darrell Walters) almost 7 years ago

Hey, Todd. I love these things. I have had mine for a while now and I know that I look at it every day. Thanks and Congrats on hitting the Million point mark, Jim

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Todd, I was just admiring one of these thermometers at a friend's house earlier in the week. They are really cool!

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (BHG Real Estate - Kansas City Homes) almost 7 years ago

The Galileo thermometer is just great!  I used to have a couple around my house.  They look so much better than a regular thermometer.

Posted by Carissa Acker (Real Estate by Design with Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

I've got a cousin who has one, Todd.  It is such a beautiful piece of art as well as very functional.  I didn't know they were so cheap, though.  I may have to get one.  Lord knows the battery-operated and even solar thermometers haven't worked too well for me.

Posted by Heather Chavez, Real Estate Virtual, Assistant (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) almost 7 years ago

I'm always fascinated by these. They really are beautiful. And the fact that they're accurate too is amazing.

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) almost 7 years ago

Todd, I have never seen one until now....I am thinking of ordering a Galileo Thermometer this week,  Truly look amazing!

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, the Go To Realtor®, Lewisburg WV Real Estate, Greenbrier County (RE/MAX Vision Quest) almost 7 years ago

We have one of those...the problem is when summer comes around, the highest temperature is not high enough in Arizona.

Posted by Dora & Vincent Kwok, CNE - Chandler, Arizona Real Estate (HomeSmart Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

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