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One can easily find descriptions of human eyes and ears used for measuring phenomenons. Finding what resolution do eyes have or what frequencies can human hear is no trouble. It is also seen in scales throughout history, like magnitude in astronomy, which is based on human subjectivity.

But what about temperature, voltage and so on? Was there ever a scale based on subjectivity of human organs (besides eyes and ears) and can there be?

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Before the late 17th century, there was no objective temperature. Probably one did not even know that the physical quantity existed. Thermoscopes had been around for about a century, but those did not much more than showing increase or decrease in "hotness" or "coldness". Liquid columns were also influenced by air pressure. And it was hard to establish fixed points.

Before that, there were the degrees of fever according to the physician Galen (1st century).

There is a book "The Linguistics of Temperature" edited by Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, covering many languages and cultures.

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The length measurement 'foot' is related to the size of a human foot, though the foot is historically a little smaller, so it is thought that 'foot' was synonymous with 'shoe', giving about the size of a measurement 'foot' (Ref).

The inch is derived from a word for 'thumb' (Ref).

Many were based on length (Ref).

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  • $\begingroup$ Also palm was a unit. And a reference point for a thermometric scale (forgot which one) was the belly internal temperature LOL. It was devised by a german scientists when there was not awareness of defined transition temperatures $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Mar 12 '18 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Alchimista :) Necessity is the mother of invention. $\endgroup$ – Dlamini Mar 12 '18 at 15:07

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