Thermometer screens and the geographies of uniformity in nineteenth-century meteorology

Naylor, S. (2019) Thermometer screens and the geographies of uniformity in nineteenth-century meteorology. Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 73, pp. 203-221. (doi:10.1098/rsnr.2018.0037)

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Abstract

By the 1860s a number of thermometer stands, screens and boxes were being used at public observatories and in private settings. The ultimate object of these humble pieces of scientific infrastructure was to protect the thermometers from precipitation and radiation. In response to concerns over the quality of designs and the comparability of results a trial of the various apparatuses was staged at Strathfield Turgiss, Hampshire, in 1868, and subsequent discussions were organized by Britain's Meteorological Society (from 1883 the Royal Meteorological Society). In an attempt to guarantee uniformity of exposure, the Society recommended the adoption of the Stevenson screen, a double-louvred box designed by Thomas Stevenson in 1866. It was promoted as an essential part of the Society's network of second-order and climatological stations across England. Despite the Meteorological Society's aim of overcoming the idiosyncrasies of geography through recourse to a uniform pattern screen, their chosen design ended up embodying a particular geography: the aesthetic and moral codes of the suburban domestic garden.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Naylor, Dr Simon
Authors: Naylor, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Notes and Records of the Royal Society
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0035-9149
ISSN (Online):1743-0178
Published Online:24 October 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Author
First Published:First published in Notes and Records of the Royal Society 73:203-221
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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