Cold Measures

Thermometers played an important role in early day Fairbanks and Dawson City. Finding one that worked well in arctic temperatures was rare, and valuable:

Fairbanks Daily Times- October 23, 1906


Thermometer Brought in by the Red Cross Drug Store Was sent to Germany to be Tested and Marked –Bears A Guarantee.

People passing the Red Cross Drug Store this winter will have a chance to see how cold it is, according to the tested instrument which that enterprising firm has hung on the outside of the store entrance.

The thermometer which they have purchased was made in Philadelphia and sent to Germany for a test, and to be marked; the Germans leading the world in the manufacture and testing of thermometers. It came back with the guarantee of the German firm on it and the little bill of expense which greatly increased its value.

When seeking an instrument for use in this city, the one received here was purchased from Morrison, Plummer & Company, the Philadelphia firm, for which it had been made and tested.

There is nothing so annoying as to look at one of the little instruments, sold under the name of thermometers and which contain coffee instead of mercury, see that it registers 50 below, rush into Si Mark’s and call for a Tom & Jerry, only to find that it is not 10 below. That’s why people will appreciate looking at the tested instrument at the Red Cross drug store.

The thermometer was very important to our neighbors in Dawson City as well:

Yukon Sun, Dawson City, Yukon Territory – February 3, 1904


Appeared on the Scene on Sunday-
Little Respect for the Sabbath-
He Stole From the Front of the Sun Office Our Trusty Thermometer-
Reward Is Offered for His Detection

The meanest walloper that ever came over the trail or down or up the Yukon is the petty larceny thief that on Sunday last, walked away with the Sun’s thermometer, the same having been loaned to us by Reid & Co., the druggists, and which has been a source of comfort and protection to us since the cold of winter first struck us, as well as the guiding star of all the mushers that have passed over the bridge of the slough during the frosty period.

The thermometer was one of the best that ever worked for the Sun. It was an advertising anchor, containing a thermometer, the whole anchored to the building by spikes. The thief stole the anchor and all. Half the amount of labor expended upon the lifting of our thermometer would have secured at least $16 in cheechako (money) if expended in the manly task of sawing cordwood at the rate of $2 per cord, even, and as the weather time table weighted about 200 pounds, the task of carrying it to the thief’s cache must have been considerable.

We will pay a $10 reward for the arrest of the thief that on Sunday last, stole from the front of the Sun office our thermometer. All the local thief catchers are advised that there is easy money in sight for an exhibition of their powers. People who sport thermometers that cannot show a registered pedigree had better watch out.

Note: The Fairbanks Pioneers wish everyone a short and uneventful cold snap this week, and keep your eyes open for that hot thermometer from the Klondike! This hypothermal History Nugget has been proudly brought to you by Fairbanks Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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