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Currie type clinical thermometer, 1800-1810

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Scottish physician James Currie (1756-1805) pioneered the clinical thermometer. This early example is one of a type he devised. The clinical thermometer differs from an ordinary thermometer. It measures only over a limited temperature range relating to body temperatures. Such instruments were used in medicine for some time before 1850. However, it was only then they began being used as a precise means to diagnose disease. They were also used to predict a disease’s course through recognising the different temperature patterns of specific diseases. This example has a Fahrenheit scale. It is thought to have been made in England.

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    Glossary: thermometer

    Instruments for measuring temperature by utilizing the variation of the physical properties of substances according to their thermal states..

    Glossary: clinical diagnosis

    A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.