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A few years back a friend of mine bought me something for Christmas and I had no idea what it was, and for a while it just sat in my cupboard not really doing a lot in it's box gathering dust. Until I redecorated my room, and took it into something more like an adult room - even though it's in my parents home for the time being, and I wanted something far more mature. I dug through my wardrobe and given that is was sat there I thought that it was time to get it out and popped it on my shelf and it's been there ever since.
~*~ What is a Galileo Thermometer? ~*~
To start with this was something I had to ask the internet because I had no idea what on earth this weird thing sat in a box was. It's not necessarily something that everyone would like in their home either it's definitely an acquired taste. This termometer basically uses the balls of liquid to tell you the temperature what is, it is basically the temperature of the room bubble is at the top, those that float below it are the higher temperatures, and the lower temperatures that it isn't sink to the bottom...
Confused? So was I!
It comes with 6 bubbles:
Top Bubble: The temperature of the Room eg 22 degrees
2nd Bubble: The 24 degree bubble
3rd Bubble: The 26 degree bubble
These top ones sit near the top of the tube, those that have sunk to the bottom are the lower temperatures;
4th Bubble: 20 degree bubble
5th Bubble: 18 degree bubble
6th Bubble: 16 degree bubble
Hope that makes it a bit easier to understand!
~*~ Is it any use? ~*~
Surprisingly actually this thermometer is quite handy, admittedly it's not going to give you a totally accurate reading of the temperature as perhaps a digital thermometer would, but it's still quite a classy looking item to have sat on your mantle. The actual thermometer is glass, with a clear fluid inside in which the 6 bubbles of temperature sit - I think mine came from a science museum in London but I'm not entirely sure. Inside the tall slim glass thermometer is six fluid bubbles which come out in multiple colours - with metal tags attached to the bottom and it has the relevant temperatures pressed into them. On mine these are in quite a classic font which looks really nice, and given that the item is quite classic in itself as it's been around for a long time it fits in well. The bottom of my thermometer is a thick round base, so it can sit on a shelf or mantle, and even if it's knocked which I have done a few times it will struggle to fall over, the top of this tapers at a point at the top - but not too pointy so don't worry about getting stabbed with it. You can get thermometers with more bubbles in to give a more accurate temperature but you need a bigger thermometer for that!
It does tell you the temperature though, all aesthetics aside, because for some it might not be the most attractive of items but it will give you an idea of the temperature in your home or in a particular room. I can't say I've ever noticed my little bubbles move as it's done slowly and I haven't got time to stand there staring at it, but in the summer when it's been really warm, checking the temperature on my phone and then looking at my thermometer it seems to correlate quite nicely. Obviously when it's hotter than the highest temperature bubble you have, they'll all be grouped together, similarly when it's cold. So currently mine are all sat at the bottom, because my room isn't what you would call very warm at the minute, just be aware if your thermometer is sat in a window or within direct sunlight that the bubbles will move more with the direct heat. Not only that but they might fade a bit more than you'd expect. So mine is sat outside of direct sunshine - but it still seems to give a good reading of what the temperature is in the room.
Given that mines been sat out in daylight for about 2 years now, it still looks as good as new - admittedly it does pick up dust really easily so I find I'm dusting it regularly but I don't mind because it means it's nice and clear to look at - especially in the summer months I love it. Especially if it's really sunny because you can let the sun shine through it and the bubbles do splash colour across a facing wall, it makes me long for summer even more just thinking about it. These thermometers are quite stubborn because I have dropped it a couple of times and it's still in one piece so from this I'd say the glass on these really are quite thick. People that have come into my room for the first time have said to me, oh what's that - my boyfriend did it the first time he came in, think he was quite confused until I explained it - after all that was also my reaction to it at first. This is a thermometer that will last you a long time, give you a nice hint to the temperature of your room and be a nice talking point when people enter your home.
Otherwise it's a nice pretty piece of glass that has floating bubbles!
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
You can buy this in varying outlets across the country most are available on the internet though in varying sizes from around 30 cm all the way up to a metre in height, so they can be a small addition to your room or quite a large one that is a big feature. Varying in price from £10 all the way up to £70 so it's worth giving them a quick search on google to find the one that suits you and your home.
I was given my Galileo Thermometer years ago as a gift. I'm really straining my memory trying to think back to when I got it, but I think my uncle may have brought it in a garden centre and gave it to me. If I am being completely honest, I never even knew that was the name for it until I did a bit of internet searching recently as I was trying to describe it to someone and realised I didn't know what they were actually called!
Galileo thermometers consist of a clear, sealed glass tube with a glass base. They are filled with a clear fluid and floating inside there are little glass baubles half filled with different coloured liquids. Each bauble has a little golden tag hanging from the bottom of it with a temperature engraved onto it. As the temperature of the room changes, so does the clear fluid in the thermometer which affects its density. This then affects the buoyancy of the little baubles inside and they float or sink as a consequence. The name Galileo Thermometer originated as Galileo is attributed with the discovery that a liquids density is a function of its temperature.
There are lots of different sizes of Galileo Thermometer available and how you read them varies slightly depending on which you have, but they are all very simple. I have the smallest version which contains 5 glass baubles. The temperature tags on the baubles are in 2'C increments so from top to bottom they are 26'C, 24'C, 22'C, 20'C and 18'C. The lowest of the floating baubles is the one which tells you the actual temperature. So at the moment, my top three are floating and the bottom two have sunk so the temperature of the room is the bottom of the floating ones which is 22'C. This is probably quite accurate as the thermostat for my heating is set at around that temperature and has been on all day. If there is a bauble floating halfway in the middle of the thermometer, not at the top near the others, and not sunk down the bottom, then the temperature is halfway between this one and the next bauble up. So if my 22'C bauble is floating in the middle, not near any of the others, then the temperature is actually 23'C.
The bigger sizes of Galileo Thermometer have more baubles in them and have one for every temperature which makes it slightly more obvious to tell from a quick glance what temperature it is. They can also cover a greater temperature range too. The colours in mine, in order from top to bottom are blue, green, yellow, red and then blue again. Some of the larger versions which contain more baubles also have orange and purple ones and I have also seen some varieties with only blue baubles. The colours are not important to the functioning or reading of the thermometer and are purely for decorative purposes.
I do see mine displaying a good temperature range throughout the year. Often on cold winter mornings when I come down after the heating has been off all night, all of the baubles will be happily floating telling me that is it 18'C or colder, brrr! Conversely, in the summer I know it is a really hot day of 26'C or more when they have all sunk to the bottom. I keep it on the mantel piece and I often glance over at it. I think it looks really pretty there.
As I mentioned before, they are made of glass and are therefore quite fragile. I was worried that it wouldn't survive moving house but thankfully, and with copious amount of bubble wrap, it made it safely. The baubles are sized so that they are too big get past each other and get themselves in the wrong order which is good. I remember turning it upside down once just to see what would happen (not a particularly bright idea, I admit!) and although there was a lot of tinkling of glass against glass everything was still functional when it was righted again, thankfully! On another not-so-bright-occasion my brother dared me to put it in the fridge so we could see what would happen to it. Unsurprisingly they all floated to the top and it took little while to come back up to temperature again afterwards and sort itself out but it did start functioning properly again after an hour or so. I have probably had it for about 10 years and despite the occasional abuse it was subjected to in the past it still seems to work perfectly fine! Perhaps the only slight sign of age is that the green bauble seems to have changed colour a bit and now looks blue rather than green but this is really no big deal.
I think these thermometers are really interesting and they are pretty to look at. They would be a good thing to show to older children to get them interested in temperature and the science behind how they work, especially as this week is National Science and Engineering Week. They are available from lots of places online, with slight variations as they seem to be produced by more than one manufacturer, but you can get a small one like my one (28cm tall with 5 baubles) from Tesco Direct for £8.49 which I'm sure is considerably cheaper than mine was when it was new so that is an excellent price. This size, along with larger varieties can also be found on Amazon. I think these thermometers are great and are fully deserving of a 5 star rating!
I have seen these glass Galileo Thermometers around for many years, but never bought one as they were so expensive for a decorative Thermometer that I did not even think would work.
For Christmas I opened this fourteen inch thermometer, I thought it was a strange gift for my sister to buy me but then I remembered how we had seen these a few months earlier and I had commented how pretty they were.
So all in all this made this gift extra special as I had always admired them, and my sister remembered that.
***** The Galileo Thermometer *****
The thermometer is a glass tube that contains of five multi coloured glass orbs, these orbs are oil filled with blue, green, yellow, red and purple oils making this very impressive to look at.
Some may be thinking how can a tube full of water and oil filled orbs tell us the temperature, well when I first got this I thought the same and told myself it could not possibly work.
This is where the genius comes in, each coloured orb has a small gold weight attached to the bottom of it, each weight weighs less that the orb that is suspended above it.
When the temperature rises the orbs sink to the bottom of the thermometer and if the temperature declines they raise back to the top, to tell the temperature you read the little gold disc on the orb that is the last orb floating at the top of the tube.
So it is as simple as that you can actually tell the temperature and accurately I must add as I have checked this against a standard thermometer. Not only is this very useful but it looks pretty in my living room.
As I have said this was a gift but you can expect to pay 13.99 - 20.00 for each thermometer, I got mine from a gadget type shop in my town but you can buy these are various places online.
***** My Views*****
Overall I am very impressed with my Galileo thermometer not only can it tell me the temperature but it also looks very decorative, so I would even buy another for the decorative purposes only.
They are very fragile so I tend to keep mine up higher so I have less chance of braking it, I feel that this and the glass orbs would not survive a vigorous shake let alone being dropped. So they will need to be looked after to avoid breaking it.
I would recommend this to anyone, but I also feel this would have a fantastic gift of anyone as it is stunning, it works and it is very novel.
I have a real fetish for collecting Galileo thermometers at the moment, It all started at Christmas 2002 when a good friend of mine bought me one as a gift. Since then I have become fascinated by these attractive ornamental thermometers that do actually work and yet look so pretty.
These Galileo thermometers were inspired by the thermoscope that was invented by Galileo Galilei in the early 1593, although the thermoscope thermometer is not the same as the Galileo thermometer is based on the same idea, and therefore take its name from Galileo Galilei himself.
It is not known if Galileo or the ancient Greeks were responsible for the first temperature device, but Galileo has taken the credit as being the original inventor of the first temperature thermometer.
His first invention was very different to the modern day thermometers, as they didn't have numbers to help you identify the true temperature and they were known as thermoscopes and never thermometers.
This Galileo thermometer is very different from the conventional thermometers we are all used to as it is a fairly simple design but it is made purely of blown glass and serves two purposes, one being decorative and the other being the temperature thermometer.
The thermometer is basically a glass filled tube that is filled with water, and contains between 4 - 7 different coloured floating glass baubles. Each of these baubles contains a coloured fluid or oil, this oil is for decoration purposes only and has nothing to do with the way the thermometer works.
Each of these glass baubles has a little gold disc attached to the bottom of them, these little discs all weigh slightly more or less than the other this then allows the temperature to be told to us as accurately as possible.
The spheres and discs all represent a different temperature ranging from 17 - 27 Celsius, each temperature is displayed on the small discs, making it very easy to read.
You may now be thinking how it works, well as the temperature raises outside of the glass tube it heats up the water inside of the tube, then it will either expand or contract with the glass baubles causing then to either raise or fall.
This is how you get the reading, the bauble sphere that sinks to the bottom of the tube, is the one that indicates the correct temperature. As it gets hotter many off the baubles will sink and therefore sit on top of each other at the bottom of the tube, if this happens the ball that sits at the top represents the correct temperature.
These stunning glass Galileo thermometers come in many different sizes and colours, you can get them with either 4 - 11 floating glass baubles, with an 11 sphere Galileo being the biggest.
You can get them with plain, multi-coloured and neon uv coloured baubles, These baubles are what makes the galileos so appealing to me, so it is best you chose a colour of colours you like as these will make all of the difference, as they are an ornamental piece and you will see it on a daily basis.
You can get these in different sizes to, the sizes range from 10cm - 62cm tall.
I have personally seen one as big as a meter tall and it had 7 huge glass baubles as big as my head, when I asked how much the lady in the shop told it was a display piece only and it wasn't for sale, I was gutted but when she told me I would expect to pay 500.00 for one this size I nearly hit the floor, it was stunning but very expensive.
PRICE WHERE TO PURCHASE
As this was a gift, I can't tell you exactly how much mine was but I have seen these in my local gadget shops for 24.00 this is for the standard size with 5 multi-coloured glass baubles.
I have also seen these go for as little as 4.99 on ebay, but shipping prices are very expensive as they are made completely of glass and need to be packaged well, to arrive to you in one piece.
www.a1gifts.co.uk is also a major supplier of these Galileo thermometers and you can expect to pay anything from 11.95 - 48.95 each.
As I have accumulated twelve of these over the past six or so years, in all different sizes and colours I am of the opinion that they are better as a decorative item and not that accurate as a thermometer.
The temperature readings are very similar to a correct reading from a normal thermometer, but as all of my twelve stand together and they all tell me different readings, so I have very little faith in them telling me the truth.
I only really have them as they look so pretty and colourful, I find them very fascinating just to sit and watch, as they can be very relaxing when the baubles raise and fall.
I love that these are all hand made with the fine blown glass, they are very delicate and fragile so you have to be very careful when handling them.
Two of mine have stopped working completely, as I had them in my window sill. This ruined them as they should not be stored in direct sunlight, I didn't know this until it was too late and I had already done the damage.
I am so pleased my friend bought me this fantastic looking thermometer, don't get me wrong I would never display a thermometer in the house but these are beautifully made and very appealing to the eye.
If you ever get the chance get one, as mine always get complimented whenever I have visitors.