12.10-5: Honeywell 1975 Heating-Cooling Thermostat

HHCC Accession No. 2006.093HHCC Classification Code: 12.10-5

A room heating-cooling thermostat in the Honeywell classic round configuration popular throughout the latter 20th century; high style, gold plastic body, helical bimetal activated, low voltage, miniature mercury bulb switch, adjustable heat anticipator, with helical bimetal thermometer and heat-cool, fan on-off switch base, Type 87F, Honeywell, Circa 1975 [See also ID #220]

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12.10 Pressure Atomizing Oil Burner Equipment and Systems - Room Temperature Thermostats




Honeywell Controls Limited, Toronto



Serial No.:

1.5 x 3 inches round


2 ozs




Exhibit, education, and research quality, illustrating the styling and engineering design of automatic heating/cooling thermostatic controls in the latter years of the 20th century, a period dominated by the classic gold Honeywell, round configuration, prior to the introduction of solid state digital control technology for the Canadian home

Patent Date/Number:

From York County (York Region) Ontario, once a rich agricultural hinterlands, attracting early settlement in the last years of the 18th century. Located on the north slopes of the Oak Ridges Moraine, within 20 miles of Toronto, the County would also attract early ex-urban development, to be come a wealthy market place for the emerging household and consumer technologies of the early and mid 20th century.

This artifact was discovered in the 1950’s in the used stock of T. H. Oliver, Refrigeration and Electric Sales and Service, Aurora, Ontario, an early worker in the field of agricultural, industrial and consumer technology.

Type and Design:

Helical by-metal spring actuated, low voltage, miniature mercury bulb switching, helical by-metal thermometer, classic Honewell round styling

  • high style, gold plastic body
Special Features:
  • Accessory switch sub-base
Performance Characteristics:
Control and Regulation:
Targeted Market Segment:
Consumer Acceptance:
Market Price:
Technological Significance:

Household temperature control technology, analogue and largely electro- mechanical and electro-magnetic in character, had reached its highest point of development by the mid 20th century, as represented here by the Honeywell T87F. The stage had been set for the progressive evolution of solid state, digital control HVACR control technology, which would soon dominate the field.

Industrial Significance:

With the development of packaged mechanical cooling equipment for residential and commercial applications, the thermostat would become a multi-functional device, controlling room temperature during the heating cycle, as well as the cooling cycle and allowing switching between heating and cooling, in addition to the control of the air circulating fan on forced air systems. All this was to be accomplished within a single integrated device ‘ to be popularly affordable and mass-produced. The miniaturized, single pole, double throw, mercury bulb switch required for cooling as well as heating was a masterpiece of design and mass production engineering, as was the entire configuration with small helical, bimetal, actuator and adjustable heat anticipator. It was executed in an attractive, moulded plastic, round, gold-colored format.
A series of matching, optional, switch bases was provided by the manufacturer, in order to accommodate various switching functions, here heating/cooling on-off, fan on/automatic, part of the movement of equipment manufacturers to a comprehensive systems approach required of the times. The development of quiet, hermetic compressors in large capacities needed for home air conditioning applications, as well as the production and successful marketing of attractive packaged condensing units and evaporator coils for residential use contributed to the significant growth of the Canadian HVACR industry starting in the 1960’s

Socio-economic Significance:

With this series of controllers came a new maturity in the HVACR control industry, which had by now expanded in Canada to be a recognizable, if not significant economic size. Honeywell reported in their 1959 catalogue that, after the acquisition of Time-O-Stat in 1931, at which point there were 12 employees in Canada, in 2 branches, Toronto and Montreal, there were now 1,200 in 13 branches.

Socio-cultural Significance:

The “Honeywell Round” would become a kind of cultural icon of its time, a marker and symbol of household friendly technology. The HVACR industry had learned valuable lessons important to its success in the residential heating and air conditioning field. Industrial looking machinery and accessories had no place in the Canadian home. Such eye appealing automatic temperature control equipment, marketed with great success for the Canadian home would change forever the expectations of Canadians for summer and winter comfort and convenience. The study of culturally induced meanings and cultural significance inherent in the vast array of three dimensional objects, with which Canadians would increasingly surround themselves, starting in the early years of the 20th century, would become the subject of scholarly study well before the end of the century. For Canadians, the interest would be in coming to recognize and comprehend the messages encoded in Canada’s rich material culture, learning to read what has been called the new cultural ‘hieroglyphics’, understanding their meanings and significance for our times. The educational outcomes would be tied to helping peoples to make sense out of the overcrowded conceptual field of encoded information, ideas, myths, beliefs, assumptions, traditions expectations and wisdom’s that crowd in on them from every hand in the culturally complex societies which now exist largely throughout the Western world .


G. Leslie Oliver, The T. H. Oliver HVACR Collection

HHCC Storage Location:
Bibliographic References:

Honeywell Catalogue of Automatic Controls No 59, 1959 Honeywell T87F application sheet, 95C-10 088B-1, Dec 1978 Also See foot notes

  • CMX02; CMX04, Item H20

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