Draper’s self-registering thermometer

Made by Draper Manufacturing Company in Connecticut, United States, North and Central America, 1887-1907.

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 cir...


Recording thermometer, self-registering thermometer, metal / glass / paper, made by Seth Thomas / The Draper Manufacturing Company, New York, United States of America, 1887-1907

A recording thermometer consisting of a clock mechanism (made by Seth Thomas) and a thermometer held inside a metal encasing. A recording chart is placed on the circular dial at the top of the encasing. The dial rotates once a week. A pen mechanism attached to the thermometer records the temperature on the chart. With the recording thermometer is a glass plate sign bearing descriptive text. This sign was originally fixed to the front of the encasing below the dial. However the sign has broken and it is currently stored between two sheets of perspex. Also accompanying the recording thermometer is a circular glass cover that fits over the dial in the metal encasing.


510 mm
350 mm
120 mm


Made by the Draper Manufacturing Company, New York, NY, USA, for H P Gregory & Co Ltd, Sydney and Melbourne. Clock mechanism made by Seth Thomas.

Patent date 1887
Draper Manufacturing Company 1887-1907


The thermometer has a chart in it which represents the week ending May 19, 1938, indicating that the thermometer was still in use at that time. The Sydney Observatory ceased being involved in meteorological observations from the early 1900s. The use in 1938 may have been by the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology.

Possibly from Sydney Observatory. There is a sticker, "16" on the object, which looks like an Observatory stock number. There are stock cards for thermometers with stock numbers 17 and 18 (recorded in 1957), but no card for number 16. This suggests that the object was transferred from the Observatory prior to 1957, possibly to the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology.
Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology


Source unknown, 1999
22 March, 1999

Cite this Object

Draper's self-registering thermometer 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 November 2017, <https://ma.as/166729>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/166729 |title=Draper's self-registering thermometer |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display at the Sydney Observatory.
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