Galileo Thermometer

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Project by Vincent Nocito posted 08-29-2013 12:42 AM 2849 views 9 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a fun project that I have had on the books for years. The Galileo Thermometer (or thermoscope) was invented in 1597 by the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. The glass tube is filled with water. The smaller glass spheres are filled with liquids of different densities. As the temperature of the water changes, the density of the water also changes. As a result, the various glass spheres rise or sink depending on the temperature/density of the liquid within them. The lowest free floating sphere corresponds to the current temperature (equilibrium point). The plan for this project comes from Wood Magazine (October 2003). The parts were cut on a scroll saw and final sanded on my oscillating spindle sander. The wood is cherry. It is finished with Watco cherry oil, two coats of satin Arm-R-Seal and clear Briwax.

4 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2439 days

#1 posted 08-29-2013 01:35 AM

Cool project—where did you get the glass tube and smaller glass spheres? Great conversation piece!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3510 days

#2 posted 08-29-2013 02:16 AM

You can purchase the Galileo thermometer (glass tube already contains the spheres) from Klockit They have thermometers from 11 to 13” and they cost under $20.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21306 posts in 3252 days

#3 posted 08-29-2013 03:03 AM

That is a sweet project. Nice job building it!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View BobWemm's profile


2534 posts in 2072 days

#4 posted 08-29-2013 04:50 AM


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

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