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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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