The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Analog max/min thermometer

Analog max/min thermometerI adore keeping track of the weather, but I've been on strike for the last two years.  You see, the little digital max/min thermometers I'd been buying kept keeling over after six months or a year, and I'm just not keen on throwaway products. 

I think I've finally found the solution --- an analog thermometer that still records maximum and minimum temperatures, for the same price as those disposable digitals.  Unless I drop it or hit it with a brick, I can't think what might go wrong.

The Sper Scientific thermometer is so simple it's ingenious.  The column of mercury is bent into a U-shape so that you can read the temperature both on the right and on the left.  Each side of the column also has a colored, magnetized something-or-other inside the tube, so when the temperature increases (on the max side) or decreases (on the min side), the mercury pushes the colored marker in front of it.  The marker doesn't retreat to follow the mercury when the latter shrinks back down, so you're left with a reminder of what the maximum or minimum temperature was.  Then you use a little magnet (attached to a string so you don't lose it) to pull the markers back down onto the top of the mercury column, resetting the maximum and minimum recordings.

Reset thermometer with magnetReading the thermometer does take a bit of getting used to.  First, if you're accustomed to Fahrenheit, you have to remember to read the small numbers.  And you also have to realize that the numbers on the minimum (left) side go from low numbers at the top to high numbers at the bottom rather than vice versa.  Finally, the markers only delineate two degree intervals, so you won't get the same precision you see in a digital thermometer.

But I don't mind a slight learning curve if I've finally found a thermometer that will go the distance.  We got our new thermometer up and running just in time to record last week's crazy temperatures --- a low of 42 one night, followed soon thereafter by three days that hit 102.  Maybe it would have been less painful if I didn't know how hot it was?

Our chicken waterer kept the flock well hydrated during the heat spell.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna, have you used this new analog thermometer in a greenhouse/tunnel or humid structure yet? We lose the digital thermometers in less than 6 mos in the greenhouse - we've given up as well. Winter gardening with no added heat - we need to find a new solution for recording highs and lows. Thank you for this!! We're going to order one soon! Peace, michele

Comment by Dharma Dogs Farm Tue Jul 3 09:36:33 2012
Dharma Dogs Farm --- Our whole life is damp, which is probably why those digital thermometers fail on us.... :-) We aren't putting this one in a greenhouse, but I suspect if it can hold up under a year of normal outside conditions on our farm, it could handle greenhouse humidity. I'll try to remember to report back once it's had a good tryout period.
Comment by anna Tue Jul 3 16:51:07 2012

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