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Use the overview below to better understand the meaning and history of the different weight units.
The Delisle scale (°D) is a temperature scale invented in 1732 by the French astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle (1688–1768). Delisle was the author of Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire et aux progrès de l'Astronomie, de la Géographie et de la Physique (1738).
The Newton scale is a temperature scale devised by Isaac Newton in 1701. He called his device a "thermometer", but he did not use the term "temperature", speaking of "degrees of heat" (gradus caloris) instead. Newton's publication represents the first attempt to introduce an objective way of measuring (what would come to be called) temperature (alongside the Rømer scale published at nearly the same time). Newton likely developed his scale for practical use rather than for a theoretical interest in thermodynamics; he had been appointed Warden of the Mint in 1695, and Master of the Mint in 1699, and his interest in the boiling points of metals are likely inspired by his duties in connection with the Royal Mint.
The Réaumur scale (°Ré, °Re, °r), also known as the "octogesimal division", is a temperature scale for which the freezing and boiling points of water are defined as 0 and 80 degrees respectively. The scale is named for René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, who first proposed a similar scale in 1730.
The Celsius scale, previously known as the centigrade scale, is a temperature scale used by the International System of Units (SI). As an SI derived unit, it is used by all countries except the United States and Liberia. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701–1744), who developed a similar temperature scale. The degree Celsius (symbol: °C) can refer to a specific temperature on the Celsius scale or a unit to indicate a difference between two temperatures or an uncertainty. Before being renamed to honor Anders Celsius in 1948, the unit was called centigrade, from the Latin centum, which means 100, and gradus, which means steps.
The Rømer scale (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʁœːˀmɐ]; also Roemer) is a temperature scale named after the Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer, who proposed it in 1701. It is based on the freezing point of pure water being 7.5 degrees and the boiling point of water as 60 degrees.
The Fahrenheit scale is a temperature scale based on one proposed in 1724 by Dutch–German–Polish physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736). It uses the degree Fahrenheit (symbol: °F) as the unit. Several accounts of how he originally defined his scale exist. The lower defining point, 0 °F, was established as the temperature of a solution of brine made from equal parts of ice, water and salt (ammonium chloride). Further limits were established as the melting point of ice (32 °F) and his best estimate of the average human body temperature (96 °F, about 2.6 °F less than the modern value due to a later redefinition of the scale). The scale is now usually defined by two fixed points: the temperature at which water freezes into ice is defined as 32 °F, and the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 °F, a 180 °F separation, as defined at sea level and standard atmospheric pressure.
The Kelvin scale is an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all thermal motion ceases in the classical description of thermodynamics. The kelvin (symbol: K) is the base unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI). The kelvin is defined as the fraction 1⁄273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water (exactly 0.01 °C or 32.018 °F). In other words, it is defined such that the triple point of water is exactly 273.16 K.
The Rankine scale (/ˈræŋkɪn/) is an absolute scale of thermodynamic temperature named after the Glasgow University engineer and physicist William John Macquorn Rankine, who proposed it in 1859. (The Kelvin scale was first proposed in 1848.) It may be used in engineering systems where heat computations are done using degrees Fahrenheit.