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Adventure of a Thermohygrograph


A thermohygrograph is a scientific instrument which measures thermo (temperature) and hygro (humidity) and plots the results on a graph.

Thermohygrographs are sensitive instruments for monitoring the changing environment in a place, typically a museum. A thermohygrograph is a chart-recorder which measures temperature and humidity and plots it on a chart. The purpose of doing this, in a museum, is not exactly for the purpose of scientific study of the environment, but more a matter of curatorship, to make sure that the conditions of temperature and environment don't go too far out of that stable environmental zone in which museum exhibits remain in perfect condition for centuries to come.

People looking around a museum may happen to notice a thermohygrograph, and perhaps wonder why such an exhibit has no plaque to describe it. Surely such a fine piece of scientific apparatus with its rotating cylinder and precision pens that plot graphs would merit a description? But then someone points out it's not an exhibit, it's an environment-monitor!

Monitoring the environment inside a building can be an important business, and is like making sure your insurance is up-to-date. I'll explain some more about this after I've explained the story. The thing is, despite their refinement, thermohygrographs tend to have a stay-at-home image, but as you can guess by the fact that this page is at Zyra's eccentric website, and by the fact this page is called "Adventure of a Thermohygrograph", something less stay-at-home is about to happen!

As luck would have it, I happened to have acquired some thermohygrographs, and I did some online research and found out what they were and I started thinking what they could be used for. When this started I was living in the UK, but the event happened shortly before I was to emigrate for tax purposes to Panama. Being an eccentric crazy person who has a huge collection of stuff (some say junk), I called upon international furniture-removers to move my stuff from the UK to Panama. We are talking about several 40ft shipping containers, travelling by freight on ships across the ocean. Now as well as the climate in Panama being very different to the climate in Britain, there's also the idea that the journey will include 17 days and nights of transit, some of which will include trans-atlantic climate. Now as you can see, the life of a thermohygrograph is about to take a turn for the more adventurous.Start of a Thermohygrograph trace

I got in touch with CASELLA, makers of these particular thermohygrographs, and a specialist company whose business is environmental monitoring. I explained my idea, that I would like to pack a thermohygrograph in a shipping container and have it running during the voyage. The friendly people at Casella were very helpful, and intrigued to hear about the idea, and I am pleased to say that now, not only do I have thermohygrographs, but I also have the right type of chart paper, and the right type of pens, and so now it's looking like there will be thermohygrographs on tour!

I intend to publish the results online! It will be interesting, to see the charts of changing temperature and humidity throughout the journey. At the time of writing, the voyage had not happened yet, so, watch this space! We will all have to be patient for this, as moving my houseful of stuff will take a while.

Update: Part1 is already available for you to see: Adventure of a Thermohygrograph: The Adventure Begins

Meanwhile, Well Done to Casella! If you'd like to find out more about environmental monitoring, you can visit www.casella.co.uk or www.casellameasurement.com or www.casellacel.com . Their business is not purely thermohygrographs, and there's more emphasis on the monitoring and measurement of such things as DUST, and noise (which is a serious business industrially), and the control of gases in the air. Things have moved on a long way from the days of having a canary with you when you go down a mine, to monitor the air quality!

... The Story continues... The Adventure Begins