Newton tried to estimate the higher temperatures indirectly. He heated up a piece of iron in a fire, then let it cool in a steady breeze. He found that, at least at the lower temperatures where he could cross check with his thermometer, the temperature dropped in a geometric progression, that is, if it took five minutes to drop from 80 ° above air temperature to 40 ° above air temperature, it took another five minutes to drop to 20 ° above air, another five to drop to 10 ° above, and so on. He then assumed this same pattern of temperature drop was true at the high temperatures beyond the reach of his thermometer, and so estimated the temperature of the fire and of iron glowing red hot. This wasn’t very accurate—he (under)estimated the temperature of the fire to be about 600 ° C.
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ed considerably. He used a linseed oil liquid in glass thermometer up to the melting point of tin (232°C). (Linseed oil doesn’t boil until 343°C, but that is also its autoignition temperature!) <span>Newton tried to estimate the higher temperatures indirectly. He heated up a piece of iron in a fire, then let it cool in a steady breeze. He found that, at least at the lower temperatures where he could cross check with his thermometer, the temperature dropped in a geometric progression, that is, if it took five minutes to drop from 80° above air temperature to 40° above air temperature, it took another five minutes to drop to 20° above air, another five to drop to 10° above, and so on. He then assumed this same pattern of temperature drop was true at the high temperatures beyond the reach of his thermometer, and so estimated the temperature of the fire and of iron glowing red hot. This wasn’t very accurate—he (under)estimated the temperature of the fire to be about 600°C. Fahrenheit’s Excellent Thermometer The first really good thermometer, using mercury expanding from a bulb into a capillary tube, was made by Fahrenheit in the early 1720’s. He got the i