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Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736)
     6 • The German Citizen • January-February 2024                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The German Citizen • January-February 2024 • 7
     The nun behind                                               By Martin Ederer                                             veloped, measurement of tempera‐    Getting the gift of a castle, and not just one, from our children

                                                                     t is entirely appropriate as we                           ture remained largely inconsistent  By Marge Thielman Hastreiter
                                                                     have entered our favorite season                          and arbitrary, and still quite inaccu‐    t was the third day into our
     the Hummel figurines                                         Ifor cursing the cold to look at                             rate. Arguments and theories over         first trip to Germany, the

                                                                  Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit’s contri‐                          how to standardize temperature         IFatherland of our ancestors
     By Martin Ederer                                             bution to our measurement of tem‐                            scales and whose scale to use multi‐  and we were staying in Munich.
          here have been growing ru‐                              perature. His work marked the be‐                            plied. Some notable figures here    This trip was funded by our
          mors among antique collec‐                              ginnings of precision measurement                            were Christiann Huygens and none
     Ttors that Hummel figurines’                                 of temperature and the develop‐                              other than Isaac Newton. Following  daughter, Diane and we were totally
                                                                                                                                                                   surprised when she presented us
     popularity have slipped. Reasons                             ment of the thermometer.                                     the science is great, but scientists  with this generous gift.
     given have included changes in                                  Fahrenheit was born in Danzig                             were still people…and with people      Our first two days were spent
     tastes, lifestyle changes, and possi‐                        (present-day Gdánsk) to a German                             there is always politics.           exploring the wonders of this
     bly market saturation and overpro‐                           family deeply rooted in the Hansa                                Fahrenheit’s  contributions     beautiful city. We had a couple of
     duction.                                                     trade. With roots in Hildesheim,                             helped to solve many of the prob‐   meals at the Hof Brau Haus, visited
        Still, the story behind Hummel                            the family history reads as an atlas  Alexandria had tinkered with de‐  lems. For starters, he devised the
     art is quite remarkable, and begins                          of the Hanseatic League with ances‐  vices using air and water. The Hel‐  most accurate thermometer in 1714  the restored churches, and took a
                                                                                                                                                                   few city tours. But on this day we
     with a Bavarian nun. Born 1909 to                            tors settled in Rostock and Königs‐  lenistic Roman Galen came up with  by using mercury instead of water  decided to see the castles.
     Adolf and Viktoria Hummel in                                 berg…and of course, Danzig itself.  the idea of a scale of degrees for  or water/alcohol mixtures. He also  We took a taxi to Neptune's
     Massing, about equidistant from                                 Initially Fahrenheit seemed in‐  measuring temperature, even if  came up with a very precise temper‐  Fountain and waited for our tour
     Munich, Landshut and Salzburg,                               tent on training in the family busi‐  measuring devices still lacked any  ature scale that put 180 degrees be‐  bus and guide. The 2-hour trip took  Linderhof
     Berta Hummel loved to draw even  Hummel in 1934.             ness of commerce. After his parents  kind of precision or reliability.  tween the freezing and boiling  us to the first castle, Linderhof                                                    Neuschwanstein
     as a young girl. In 1927 she applied                         died of mushroom poisoning (good                             points of water. One of the reasons
                                   cephalic heads and club feet.” Hum‐                              Late Renaissance figures and                                   Palace. After we walked up many                                                             turn in the road, you could see the  was because the king died an
     to the Academy of Applied Art in                             dinner party to miss) he studied in                          Fahrenheit came up with his scale
                                   mel works certainly did little, in                            early figures of the Scientific Revo‐                             steps, we saw a beautiful pond with                                                         spires of the castle reaching up to  untimely death (cause unknown).
     Munich, and although younger than                            Amsterdam.  Eventually, he was                               was the easy divisibility of 180 de‐
                                   their opinion, to emphasize the                               lution revisited these concepts and                               a gold statue.                                                                              the sky.                         We had to walk down several
     almost all the applicants, she scored                        lured away by natural science,                               grees.  For the English-speaking
                                   heroism and the strength of the                               devices. Galileo Galilei and Santo‐                                  Once inside the palace all you                                                              The guide told us that we could  steps to get to our bus. We
     in second place on the entrance                              which was in the midst of the scien‐                         world, the rest is largely history.
                                   German race.                                                  rio Santorio arguably invented the                                could see was gold. The rooms were                                                          either walk up to the castle or take a  welcomed the bottom after a
     exam. It bears mention that an as‐                           tific revolution taking the European                             Fahrenheit was certainly not
                                       After World War II had begun,                             first somewhat modern-era ther‐                                   all gorgeous with the king's throne,                                                        bus or have a horse and carriage  treacherous  ride  down  the
     piring artist by the name of Adolf                           world by storm. In that process, he                          the only figure working on a better
                                   the Nazis confiscated the convent at                          moscopes. Other early figures in‐                                 his bedroom, a much decorated                                                               ride. We took the bus, but there  mountain, but we knew that we had
     Hitler was rejected twice by the                             met some of the movers and shakers                           thermometer  and   temperature
                                   Sießen and made it a camp for Ger‐                            cluded the Dutch Cornelis Drebbel,                                piano, a peacock statue and a                                                               were still many stairs to climb. We  seen something very special. There
     same school. She aced her finals                             of his time: Ole Rømer, Christian                            scale.  Within a few decades the
                                   man soldiers returning from the                               the English Robert Fludd.                                         mirrored room. It seems that the                                                            just missed the English tour and got  was a restaurant and souvenir shop
     and graduated at the age of 18 in                            Wolff and Gottfried Leibniz. Al‐                             French René Antoine Ferchault de
                                   front. The Nazis left the convent                                The term “Thermometer” was                                     king collected vases, which were all                                                        on the Italian tour. However, once  waiting and we had ice cream and
     1931.                                                        though he had changed careers, he                            Réamur tried to come up with a
                                   only a few rooms. Most of the sis‐                            not invented until 1624, a term                                   displayed. There was also much                                                              inside, we caught up with the  Joe bought a poster of the castle.
        During her studies at the Acad‐                           did uphold the family tradition of                           more accurate alcohol thermome‐
                                   ters had to leave. Hummel reluc‐                              coined by Jean Laurechon.  All                                    candelabra and when all the candles                                                         English tour.                    We found out later, that this
     emy, she also befriended two Fran‐                           frequent travel:  Berlin, Halle,                             ter. While the accuracy remained
                                   tantly went home to her family. She                           names aside, thermometers re‐                                     were lit, the king would sit in the                                                            Throughout the tour we could  beautiful castle is the model for Walt
     ciscan nuns from the convent at                              Leipzig, Dresden, and a visit to Eng‐                        elusive, it bears mention that most
                                   was so unhappy that she returned to                           mained inaccurate. Liquid levels in                               mirrored room and gaze at the                                                               hear a waterfall. Finally, we got to  Disney's castles. Joe's poster is above
     Sießen, near Ulm in Baden-Würt‐                              land. He finally settled in Den Haag                         of our basic everyday thermometers
                                   the convent, where she worked in a                            tubes could be affected not only by                               reflections in all the mirrors. It was                                                      the point where we got to see the  our fireplace and it is a reminder of
     temberg. She decided that as soon                            in Holland.                                                  with red or green liquid are indeed
                                   small, damp, and cold basement                                temperature, but also by atmo‐                                    said that the 19-year-old King                                                              beautiful falls which we were told  the kindness of our daughter.
     as she graduated, she would enter                               Temperature-measuring  de‐                                alcohol thermometers—and much
                                   room. In summer 1944 she con‐                                 spheric pressure. Sealed glass tubes                              Ludwig II was quite eccentric.                                                              has a 149 foot drop. It was well  Coincidentally, all our generous
     the convent. She entered in 1931                             vices had long predated Fahrenheit’s                         safer than mercury thermometers.                                   Oberammergau
                                   tracted pleurisy. By November it                              eliminated the problem of fluctuat‐                                  Our    next    stop    was                                                               worth walking up all those stairs.  children, Joe and Patty, Cindy and
     and became a postulant in 1933.                              work. Hellenistic scientists such as                         Then there was the Swedish scien‐
                                   had progressed to tuberculosis, and                           ing atmospheric pressure, and while                               Oberammergau, the Passion Play  White. All the houses look the same  roads flanked by snow-covered  It did not seem that the rooms in  Jim Robinson, Diane & Linda, all
     That same year, the sisters arranged                         Philo of Byzantium and Hiero of                              tist Anders Celsius, whose main
                                   she was shipped off to the hospital.                          temperature scales were getting de‐                               town. There is a cross on the top of  with balconies, porches, white  mountains with meadows below  this castle were as decorative and  contributed to three more future
     a show of her drawings. The reli‐                                                                                         contribution simplified the math.
                                       She had improved enough by                                                                                                  a mountain as you come into this  stucco and red tile roofs. Most have  with hay shacks, neatly cut wood  some on the upper floors were  European trips. Thank you!
     gious publisher Ars Sacra in Mu‐                                                                                          He designated 0 as the boiling point
                                   spring 1945 that she could return to                                                                                            town. It was placed there when God  gardens, mostly tulips. Our tour bus  piles and several crosses along the  incomplete. We were told that this
     nich noticed and agreed to publish                                                                                        of water, and 100 as its freezing
                                   the convent, but it wasn’t long be‐                                                                                             rid the town of the Black Plague  parked outside the theater and we  way.
     some of her prints as postcards and                                                                                       point.  The equally Swedish Carl
                                   fore the tuberculosis relapsed. She                                                                                             many centuries ago.            were told that the towns people are  King Ludwig II had a passion for
     holy cards. The nuns encouraged                                                                                           Linnaeus (who gave us binomial
                                   got well enough to return to the                                                                                                   Many houses have colorful   getting ready for the Passion Play  architecture and designed three
     her to keep producing her art.                                                                                            nomenclatures for species) decided
                                   convent in September 1946, but her                                                                                              paintings on the outside, like Snow  which will take place in the year  castles in all. We did not stop at
        She professed her first vows in                                                                                        that reversing the direction of the
                                   health declined rapidly again. She                                                                                                                             2000.                         Hohenschangau, but went straight
     1934 as Sister Maria Innocentia                                                                                           Celsius scale made more sense: 0
                                   died on Nov. 1, 1946.                                                                                                                                             Our tour continued through  to Neuschwanstein. From every
     Hummel, OSF, and took her final                                                                                           became freezing and 100 became
                                       After Hummel’s death, the con‐
     vows in 1937. By that time her art                                                                                        boiling.
                                   vent retained control over her de‐  NEW  ARRIVAL:
     had drawn both positive and nega‐                                                                                             Fahrenheit transformed the ac‐
                                   signs and the legal rights. Hummel  Story  from
     tive attention.  In 1935 Franz                                                                                            curacy of measuring temperature,
                                   figurines’ popularity skyrocketed  Grandma  HUM
     Goebel, which had been producing                                                                                          even if the Celsius scale ended up
                                   after the war, thanks in large part to  620 is among the
     porcelain figurines since 1890 in                                                                                         taking over much of the world, in‐
                                   their popularity among U.S. troops  new figurines on
     Oeslau (Bavaria), began producing                                                                                         cluding the parts that speak Ger‐
                                   in the western occupation zones,  the  Hummel
     figurines based on her drawings. By                                                                                       man.   Perhaps Fahrenheit’s only
                                   who thought the figurines were per‐  website. If you’d
     agreement, Hummel retained artis‐                                                                                         consolation might be the look on
                                   fect souvenirs to send home to loved  like one, it sells
     tic control over the designs. In 1935                                                                                     the faces of people raised in the Cel‐
                                   ones. As world travel became more  for $1600.
     Marshall Field of Chicago began                                                                                           sius system when Americans inform
                                   accessible and popular after the war,
     importing and selling Hummel’s                                                                                            them of summer daily high temper‐
                                   Hummel figurines became favorite
     works in the United States.                                                                                               atures.
                                   tourist souvenirs. As a result, Hum‐
        The new Nazi regime was less                              became omnipresent among Amer‐
                                   mel figurines, which started with a                                             DEATH NOTICE
     kindly inclined toward Hummel’s                              icans who lived the World War II
                                   nun’s humble drawings have be‐                                RICHARD H. WEDEKINDT (1942 - 2023)
     art, which eventually fell under the                         experience and the postwar pros‐
                                   come beloved the world over and                                 Richard  H.  Wedekindt,           published articles on funeral
     ban of Degenerate Art. Hitler pub‐                           perity that followed.
                                                                                                 who   led  a  long  and             service history and Buffalo’s
     licly condemned her art, and in
                                                                                                 distinguished  career  as  a        past undertakers. In 2007-08
     1937 the SA newspaper criticized
                                                                                                 funeral director from 1965 to       he   provided  materials,
     her depictions of children for being
                                                                                                 2008, died Sept. 9, 2023. A         consulted and served as a
     too bizarrely sweet, with “hydro‐
                                                                                                 lifelong resident of Amherst,       part-time docent for the “In
                                                                                                 NY and graduate of Amherst          Loving Memory” exhibit at
                                                                                                 Central Schools and the University at  the Buffalo History Museum. He also
                                                                                                 Buffalo, he with his father Harry and  was interviewed by his son David
                                                                                                 along with twin brother Raymond  about funeral practices for National
                                                                                                 owned and operated the Harry A.  Public Radio’s “StoryCorps” project.
                                                                                                 Wedekindt  Funeral  Home   in    In later years he compiled an
                                                                                                 Amherst. He and his brother also  extensive family history tracing its
                                                                                                 managed  Amherst   Funeral  /  roots to Hanover, Germany and his
                                                                                                 Cremation Service from 1971-1993.  great grandfather’s establishment of
                                                                                                   He   possessed  a  tremendous  the first Wedekindt funeral home in
                                                                                                 passion for his profession, including  Buffalo in 1887. He also performed
                                                                                                 his creation and presentation of  research on the Works Progress
                                                                                                 lectures on death and dying and  Administration  and  artists  who
                                                                                                 funeral service to over 230 groups and  worked  in  Western  New  York,
                                                                                                 over 6,000 people. Richard was also a  documenting artworks throughout
                                                                                                 mentor to countless funeral service  the region and was also a frequent
                                                                                                 students  and  professionals  and  contributor to “Western New York
                                                                                                 member of the Erie-Niagara and New  Heritage Magazine.”
                                                                                                 York  State  Funeral  Directors  He is survived by his wife of 54
                                                                                                 Associations.                 years, Barbara, son David (Susan),
    Life-size  reproduction  of  a
                                                                                                   Portions of his extensive library of  daughter  Diane  (Nicholas),
    Hummel      figurine   "Merry
                                                                                                 funeral  service  and  history  grandchildren  Alexander  and
    Wanderer" at the entrance of the
                                                                                                 publications are now held by the  Madelyn, brother Raymond, nieces
    Goebel company in Rödental,
                                                                                                 National Museum of Funeral History  Karen and Janet, brother-in-law Bob
    Germany.                                                                                     in Texas. Richard also authored  Allen (the late Joan) and nephew Neil.
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