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Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 27, 19:10
by Margaret Emerson
After service since 1981 my maximum thermometer suffered a slight accident this morning and has a broken sheath after hitting a toggle on my coat when re-setting this morning.Thermometer and mercury all in tact. Really annoying as it only my second thermometer breakage in over 35 years observing at home and professionally.
Looked on a number of websites for a replacement and heard back from one firm this afternoon, due to EU regulations they are not able to supply me as they contain mercury. Any suggestions?
Having bought a new screen in late summer, second hand, still awaiting the stand though, I am loathe to say I'll switch to an automatic say a Davis.

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 27, 20:29
by Richard Hunt
I ordered a new maximum thermometer last year from Russell Scientific, they told me the max thermometer was packed and labelled as a alcohol minimum due to the restrictions on mercury.

You should be able to source one from them ok.

Hope this helps.

Bad luck with the old one though.

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 27, 22:14
by Stephen Burt
Drop me an e-mail, Margaret (address in inside front cover of the bulletin) - I might be able to suggest a source.

Stephen

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 28, 14:13
by Margaret Emerson
Thank you to Richard and Stephen for your suggestions. Russell Scientific have the right thermometer but can only sell to a company and not an individual. Fine by the EU to post out to a company a load of Mercury when it is at its most vulnerable, but not to an individual. Will be in touch Stephen.

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 28, 15:26
by Richard Hunt
Strange with regard to Russell Scientific not posting to an individual as I am one, and I had no problem with postage whatsoever.
In fact they never questioned whether I where a company or not, I just placed an order and it (mercury theremometer) was shipped to me within two working days.

Hope you find a replacement soon.

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Jan 28, 20:37
by Stephen Burt
There's certainly a lot of codswallop talked about the dangers of mercury.

I wouldn't dispute for a second that it's a dangerous nerve toxin, and very nasty stuff if inhaled as vapour. BUT - the point is of course that in sealed thermometers there's absolutely no chance of ingesting or inhaling the mercury unless the thermometer breaks.

Even in a mercury barometer (open cistern for obvious reasons), it pays to remember that the vapour pressure of mercury at room temperatures is minute (if it wasn't, there wouldn't be a near-perfect vacuum above the mercury column for very long, would there?)

I can recall at school playing with liquid mercury globules in the palm of my hands, even once accidentally spilling a whole jar of it down a staircase with aluminium treads (an interesting reaction ... ) and having to sweep it up with the caretaker's broom. And of course there can be few people who don't have mercury amalgam fillings in their teeth.

It is a great shame that over-cautious health and safety legislation is inevitably going to lead to the obsolescence of many important 'first principles' scientific instruments, particularly mercury thermometers and barometers. In 10 years time it will be impossible to buy mercury thermometers (and by the sound of Margaret's responses, perhaps that's true even now). Perhaps we should establish a COL 'recycling collection' to enable those who still want to use these instruments to obtain them from members' estates via their will at the end of their lives?

I've used mercury thermometer and barometers daily for over 40 years now - it's not done me any harm, and I'm not aware of mercury poisoning being an occupational health risk in the Met Office, either! Bah humbug!

Stephen

Re: Mercury in glass sheathed maximum thermometer

PostPosted: 2015 Feb 02, 19:50
by brugge
I've been discussing thermometers with Russell Scientific.
They now have spirit ones for use as Symons earth thermometers
(the ones suspended on chains for use at 30/50/100 cm) and
said they were trying to develop a maximum spirit thermometer
as a replacement for the air temperature sheathed maximum one
being discussed in these posts.

Roger