Light Laboratories Thermometer


Light Laboratories Brighton Thermometer, range -40C to +110C. Housed in leather box with carrying handle.

This is a bridge type instrument with the capability of measuring the temperature of up to six items. The box contains a 8 position switch (off/test/1/2/3/4/5/6), meter, 3;1 taper 1000 ohm variable resistor and a 1.2 volt rechargeable cell. The bridge components which comprise 4 wire wound resistors for each temperature sensor are housed in the individual 8 gold plated contact plugs.

There are many references to this firm on the internet, but I have not found out very much about the firm except that it was based in several places in Brighton over the years. The earliest reference I have found is on page 332 of the British Medical Journal of September 7th 1946. In the short article on this page is described a skin temperature measuring instrument measuring from 10-40 degrees Centigrade to within 0.1 degree. The instrument based upon a Wheatstone bridge (as mine is) was made by Mr Arthur Light.

Peter Harrison came across my website when googling "Light Laboratories". He worked at their small company located in Ship Street Gardens close to the Hippodrome, Brighton and used to assemble and calibrate their temperature measuring "boxes". He remembers engraving the temperature scale around the perimeter of the dial wheel in the large disc shown in the picture above. Each "box" had a unique dial wheel. This was around 1964 when he was 19.

Chris Wild came across my website whilst google searching for information on his family history. He was looking for Arthur Dennison Light, a distant cousin by marriage. He has found circumstantial evidence that he was associated with Light laboratories. His brother Walter was living in Brighton in 1911 but Arthur D, was living in Walthamstow. Unfortunately he has not found out what they were doing for a living.

He has found out quite a bit about Arthur Light which I reproduce here:
"He was born in 1876 in Hampshire, died in 1970 and was one of 15 children. In the early 1900's he practiced as a medical electrician or galvanist in London trading as The Health Culture Company and The Institute of Natural Therapeutics. He was involved in a couple of partnerships, one of which was with two of his brothers, Alfred Weldon and Walter. He was also involved with a B Copson Garrett who seems to have been a forerunner in electricity and medicine. In 1910 he was operating a business as a magnetic appliance manufacturer. Then in 1914/15 he was found guilty of "providing false analyses". This presumably meant he could no longer practice and he turned his attention to the manufacture of medical instruments. It is possible that Light Laboratories was set up by Arthur and Walter. Walter was living in the Brighton area during the early 1900's and was, by all accounts, the entrepreneur of the family, although some considered him a "bit of a rogue". The only evidence I have for Arthur being in Brighton is his connection with Light Laboratories and their being in Brighton."

Chris has located one of his patents

An advertisement from the late 1970's

David John Collins (gw4ynp) found a 1946 wbgr meter in a garage,on looking on the internet to see what they were used for he came across my web site and and saw that Chris Wild was looking for his family tree. The paperwork with the meter is signed by a Mr A L Light (Light Laboratories) 10 Ship Street Gardens Brighton.

Mr AL Light letter wetbulb globe thermometer

He adds: The wet bulb globe tester (wbgt) was used as a heat stroke checker and still is commonly used as a guide for environmental heat stress to prevent heat stroke during physical exercise or wile at work, they were developed by the military. You can still buy them today but they are hand held instruments.  

The following pictures of a similar instrument were sent to me by Colin Mckechnie some time ago.

wetbulb thermometer nameplate

John Sallis ex Arthur Sallis Radio Control Ltd North Road Brighton who used to sell Mr A Light ex WD Yaxley switches and knew him quite well over a number of years 1950 to the late 60s provided the following information:

Light Laboratories made some types of medical temperature measuring equipment, I can remember seeing such an instrument whilst visiting my son in hospital after having his tonsils removed in the late 60s. Arthur Light himself could be described as a complete gentleman, quiet spoken, sporting a small goatee beard. We had many people like him visit our shop over the years, some were completely nuts others weren't, among those that were not was a Mr Clare of Clare instruments Findon, a Mr Barbour of Marine Auto Pilots Hove, A P Besson of AP Besson and partners still in business to day.

As for Arthur Sallis Ltd the business was founded in November 1949 I was only 6 years old at the time born 1943 I have many vivid memories of the surplus radio trade I would work in the shop in Brighton on Saturdays and during my school holsidays. My father and I ran the business until his death in 1985 by that time we had moved away from ex WD  parts into the world of the Semiconductor, by 1985 the DIY radio/electronics market was on a downward spiral, so on my late father's death I decided to close the business cash in and buy an Arable farm - what a change!! Never got round to the RAE But was a well known pirate Top band 80m and had some good DX on 20 & 15 during 1957/58 IGY lots of sun spots all on home built gear my last project was an all band SSB exciter using a Collins mechanical filter. Somewhere I have a photo of the inside of our shop and a 35 mm slide of the outside no doubt with a quick rummage I can locate them if you are interested#

Can you tell me more?