- Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) invented the thermometer. Fahrenheit was born in Gdansk, Poland, of German parents and was orphaned at fifteen. With little schooling, he wandered around Europe to learn from amateur scientists, finally settling in Amsterdam. Failing at the merchant's career for which his father trained him, he devoted himself to the study of physics and the manufacture of meteorological instruments. He invented an alcohol thermometer jn 1709, and a mercury thermometer in 1714.Because of his invention, Fahrenheit was so greatly respected by the academic community that, despite his lack of formal education, he was admitted to the British Royal Society in 1736, shortly before his death at age fifty.Fahrenheit's temperature scale was based on a normal body temperature of 96 degrees, later corrected to 98.6 degrees, the freezing of water at 32 degrees, and the boiling point of water at 212 degrees. "Whether these degrees are high enough for the hottest fevers, I have not examined," he wrote. "I do not think, however, that the degrees named will ever be exceeded in any fever."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.