The Necrometer: A 19th Century Death Thermometer

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[P]hysician Édouard Séguin believed deeply in the thermometer’s power both as a necrometer and as a general health care tool.

Despite resistance from many of his colleagues in the medical community, he wrote extensively about how mothers and other family members should learn to use thermometers to take and record the temperatures of their loved ones.

To this end, Séguin designed a targeted “mother’s thermometer”. Instead of being labeled according to a Fahrenheit or Celsius scale, it would follow the model of the necrometer, with a simplified “Scale of Vitality”. The scale, which was reproduced in the manual, ran both up and down from 0, which indicated a “standard of health”, to 5, which was labeled “often fatal”.

Via Slate for the full article.

This entry was posted in Gadgets, History by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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