12.10-8: Honeywell 1962 Summer Air Conditioning, Room Thermostat

HHCC Accession No. 2006.096HHCC Classification Code: 12.10-8

A summer air conditioning, room thermostat, in the Honeywell classic round configuration, popularly found in the mid and latter 20th century on residential oil heating systems with add-on summer cooling; high style, gold coloured plastic body, helical bimetal temperature activated, low voltage, miniature mercury bulb switch, with helical bimetal thermometer, Type 87C, Honeywell, Circa 1964 [See also ID #217]


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, mid 20th century, Honewell round styling

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

The significance of the Honeywell T87 lay in a number of directions: It was representative of a new, exciting era, the early years of residential, year around air conditioning in Canada. While at the same time it marked the end of an era of household temperature control technology, which was analogue and largely electro- mechanical and electro-magnetic in character. This modus operandi had reached its highest point of development by the mid 20th century, as represented here by the Honeywell T87C. The stage had been set for the progressive evolution of solid state, digital control HVACR control technology, which would soon dominate the field. It would represent, too, a simplicity and precision only made possible, for the first time, by the cumulative engineering design, manufacturing and mass production experience and knowledge of the middle years of the 20th century. As well, there was in the Honeywell round a sophistication, maturity in styling and commitment to form, function and color that would set standards and turn heads in the field of industrial design.

Industrial Significance:

The development of packaged, add-on, mechanical cooling equipment for residential and small commercial applications, triggered a new Canadian market starting in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The market targeted on those that already had an up-to-date forced air oil heating system.
This then was the new ‘conversion market’, a market place which would be worked by much of the industry, very much as the industry had cut its teeth on the conversion business in the 1920’through 40’s. Then it sold oil burners and forced air fans for conversion of gravity, coal fed furnaces, making them into modern forced air automatic home heating systems. The movement triggered the demand for cooling thermostatic controls, as add-on’s to the existing heating system, already equipped with its own heating thermostat. The result was a hearing cooling, year round, elemental air conditioning system without the benefit of interlocks and automatic transfer function from heating to cooling. Honeywell responded to the market with the T87C, using the same thermostatic platform developed for their heating thermostat the T86A. A series of matching, optional, switch bases would also be made available from the manufacturer, in order to accommodate various switching functions, as needed, part of the movement of equipment manufacturers to a comprehensive systems approach required of the times.

Socio-economic Significance:

With this series of controllers came a new economic 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:

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 Also See foot notes


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