Review and photos by Alison Huth
Thermometers just seem to be one of those things that we all take for granted. They appear in most homes in one form or another, sometimes they are simple ones to say how hot or cold it is, sometimes they are for cooking, others can be complicated weather stations with all the bells and whistles.
But, did you know that there is only one thermometer factory in Australia? Technitherm was established in 1945 by Eric and Yvonne Mitchell, originally in Fitzroy Victoria. Then they moved to West Heidelberg, before finally settling in Mapleton, on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Eric and Yvonne used to come to Mapleton for holidays and decided it was the only place to live, so in 1977 they moved the family and the factory.
In 2004 their daughter Jackie Stilla, and her family, bought the business and have been running it ever since. Although you cannot do tours of the factory, Jackie was kind enough to show me around one day and I learned very quickly that making thermometers is a time consuming, and exacting, business.
There are a lot of components that have to be generated and then put together. The glass comes in huge lengths that has to be cut down to size. Once you have the right size the glass is blown to create the bulb to hold the coloured fluid. It is then calibrated, sealed and, most importantly tested. Each thermometer is tested to make sure that it will correctly measure the temperatures it is designed to measure. Once Jackie is happy that it is right, then it can be put together with the background – which has gone through a set of work procedures too.
The background has to be prepared, with wooden and plastic ones being screen printed, and stainless steel photo engraved. Somewhere in that process they are also cut to size, then everything is put together and you have a thermometer.
Jackie admits to being a bit of a perfectionist, and is adamant that every thermometer made in the factory has to be right, which is why so much attention is put into each and every one. Jackie is determined to ensure that they will work quickly and efficiently. A good thermometer responds to temperature immediately, if it does not then the chances are that it did not start its life in Technitherm.
There is also a huge array of barometers at Technitherm, but these are all imported. It seems that the demand for barometers is simply not there to make them commercially in Australia. The best selling thermometers are the energy efficient ones that are used to check that the fridge, freezer and hot water are working correctly. If it says Made in Australia on it, then it was made at Technitherm Thermometers, Mapleton, Queensland.
If you want to have a look at their products, their website has some of them listed. If you want to order something, just give Jackie a call and she will be happy to help you. Imagine that, a thermometer factory in Australia – just another example of our famous small business.
Address: Shay Lane, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia
Phone: (07) 5445 7175