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#127294 - Tue Dec 05 2006 03:13 PM What are these?
powerlube Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sun Mar 26 2006
Loc: Parker, CO
In the collection I bought there were a number of these thermometers but I have no idea what they were for. Anybody have any clues? Oldgas member Thunder thought they were for taking the temperature of oil during the refining process???

Any clues?

Scott Wright-
Wanted Powerine, Bearcat and Powerlube Items- Lots to trade!
Scott Wright

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#127295 - Tue Dec 05 2006 03:59 PM Re: What are these?
George Johnston Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Mon May 26 2003
Loc: Beloit, Wi, USA
Any dairy faarmers out there? These look a lot like the ones used to take tem of the bulk milk in the tanks on the farm.

#127296 - Tue Dec 05 2006 04:08 PM Re: What are these?
oldnfuelish Offline
FATW Feature Host

Registered: Wed Nov 02 2005
Loc: Antioch,IL
maybe take the cows temp from the rear?ouch!LOL
Looking for gas,oil related clocks,especially neon and spinners .clock repair available. Mick

#127297 - Tue Dec 05 2006 05:07 PM Re: What are these?
blacktee Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Jan 17 2005
Loc: Saline, Mi USA

You been sniffing too many furnace fumes ?

Although appears to be the right size ?

#127298 - Tue Dec 05 2006 05:12 PM Re: What are these?
buytex Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Mon Dec 22 2003
Loc: derry n h
well i guess if you don't like them now you know what you can do with them

#127299 - Tue Dec 05 2006 06:13 PM Re: What are these?
Tokheim Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Wed Feb 19 2003
Loc: NW PA
LoL buytex.
I have one very similar if not the same as the second one from the right, says Palmer Mfg. on it. It was on the wall when we bought a competitor petroleum equipment distributor and I scarfed it up. For taking a sample and temp of product but not sure if for the end user tank or refining process. You could also get somewhat of a bottom sample for water as well.

#127300 - Tue Dec 05 2006 06:18 PM Re: What are these?
minuteman Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sat Apr 05 2003
Loc: Big Sky Country
They are for measuring temp and API gravity...

The API gravity of the gasoline, which varies by grade and refinery. Usually, regular unleaded gasoline has a gravity of around 58 and a weight per gallon of 6.216 pounds per gallon. Premium gasoline may have a gravity of 54, or 6.350 pounds per gallon.
Wanted early tin litho signage.
petro, farm, auto, etc.

#127301 - Tue Dec 05 2006 08:08 PM Re: What are these?
BBQ Chicken Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Sun Oct 02 2005
Loc: Raleigh, NC
They look like old candy thermometers..... ever seen those?

#127302 - Tue Dec 05 2006 08:12 PM Re: What are these?
BLange Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Wed Oct 12 2005
Loc: Cedar Rapids, IA
Candy making temps are higher than 130 Deg.

Chef Brian
Always looking for SKELLY items.

#127303 - Tue Dec 05 2006 10:37 PM Re: What are these?
Pegasus Offline

Registered: Sat Mar 22 2003
Loc: DFW metro area
I agree with Minuteman. They were used to measure the quantity of liquid in a bulk storage tank. If you know the depth of the liquid in the tank (eg: 2 feet 3 inches) and the temperature of the liguid, you can use the "strapping table" for the tank to determine the volume (number of gallons) left in the tank. They were attached to a long string or wire and lowered into the tank. Did a lot of that stuff when I first worked Ashland Oil back in the 1970's.

Richard Weir
Corinth, Texas

#127304 - Wed Dec 06 2006 11:49 AM Re: What are these?
silent chief Offline
Active Member

Registered: Fri Sep 30 2005
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Been in the oil business since the 70's, never seen instruments that were meant to come into repeated direct contact with a flammable hydrocarbon product that were made of wood. Would be extremely difficult to decontaminate and make safe for next use.
Not saying they don't exist, but I've measured the level, temperature, and water/oil interface level in alot of tanks, in refineries and out...

They do look like lab instruments to me. Quite possibly for the water treatment side of some sort of process (but then why would the scale read below 32F). Look like they were meant to be dipped into the process fluid, and a small sample would be retained in the brass section, then the temperature could be read after it stabilized.

Just my best guess...
Always looking for Texaco Canada, Supertest, White Rose, McColl Frontenac, and Miller Oil Co. info.

#127305 - Wed Dec 06 2006 01:07 PM Re: What are these?
Larry Johnson Offline

Registered: Fri Sep 08 2006
Loc: Gillette, WY
I get a kick out of all of your replies and am interested in all of them. However,it didn't sound like anyone worked in the oilfield, and, of course, there are other uses, but I thought that I'd give you my oilfield perspective. We call these thermometers "woodbacks". Every tank of crude oil sold, at least in the U.S., is measured for volume, corrected to standard temperature (effects volume), gravity (quality) using a hydrometer, and water content (for some reason they don't like to buy water in the oil). Where there is not automation to find these variables, they have to be found manually. Thus, one tool is the woodback. The purpose of the sump around the thermometer bulb is to obtain an accurate reading by keeping the product around the bulb of the thermometer once the woodback is brought up in the air to be read. "Thiefs" are used to obtain samples to float the hydrometer for finding the gravity and to "grind out" in the centrifuge to find the water content. Using the thief, samples can be otained at any level of the tank, and usually are taken a foot off bottom and half way up. The scale of the thermometer can vary, but -30F to 130F would be normal. I've sold crude in the winter when the oil is below zero and in the summer near 100F when the hot sun shines on the tanks all day. Many of the woodbacks, at least the earlier ones, were mercury filled. They are probably outlawed now, but are very accurate. And, as I mentioned above, there are many other applications........I would think anywhere bulk liquids are bought and sold. And, they are not scarce; any oilfield supply store keeps them on hand.

Larry Johnson

#127306 - Thu Dec 07 2006 06:42 PM Re: What are these?
thermactor Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Wed Apr 27 2005
Loc: Decatur, IL
Keep in mind that the depth measuring sticks for underground tanks are mad eof wood, and are intended for repeated contact w/ the gasoline.
I think they just "air out"


#127307 - Sat Dec 09 2006 12:06 PM Re: What are these?
silent chief Offline
Active Member

Registered: Fri Sep 30 2005
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I agree - interesting replies! Good to learn something new.

I had no idea there were instruments used for hydrocarbon service that incorporate wood. Never seen one, not in 28 years, not in the oilpatch, refinery, bulk station, railyard, or retail - with the exception of some wooden tank dippers a long time ago on farms (thanks for the reminder!). Everything I've used was either Nalgene or other inert polymer, metal, or glass. And the occasional natural cork for a thief sample.

Maybe my experience is too modern - or maybe the regs are different in different places.
Always looking for Texaco Canada, Supertest, White Rose, McColl Frontenac, and Miller Oil Co. info.


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