Greenhouse thermometer, c 1798.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by Dudley Adams (c 1760-1826), Fleet Street, London. Mercury in glass on a wooden board with a scale of ten degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Horticulture was a growing interest among the wealthy, inspired in part by new plants being introduced from the colonies. Greenhouses and conservatories needed to be monitored for exotic species. Some thermometers were marked with the ideal temperatures for various plants. Dudley Adams was the son of the famous instrument maker George Adams (1704-1773) and brother of George Adams the Younger (1750-1795). He took over the family business in Fleet Street and in turn became instrument maker to George III (1738-1820) as well as his post as optician to the Prince of Wales.