This recording thermometer was designed by Dr. Daniel Draper (1841-1931) who was one of the sons of John William Draper a pioneer in stellar photography. Daniel was instrumental in setting up the New York Meteorological Observatory in Central Park in 1868 and made a number of important meteorological inventions.
The mechanism used to drive the self registering chart was made by Seth Thomas, one of the earliest and most respected clock makers in America. The recording chart is placed on the circular dial at the top of the encasing which rotates once a week. A pen mechanism attached to the thermometer records the temperature on the chart.
The chart left which is still inside the thermometer is from the week ending May 19, 1938. This date suggests the instrument may have been used by the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology who took over meteorological responsibilities from the Sydney Observatory from 1908.
This instrument remains of national significance due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with Australia's earliest astronomers. It is also significant for its association with nineteenth century meteorological instruments and instrument makers.
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, March 2007
Brown, J.H., (editor), Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Volume 2, Federal Book Company, 1902, p. 514
Knight, E.H., Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, Volume III, Hurd & Houghton, Cambridge, 1876, p.2546