Holmgren's coloured wool test for colour blindness, Europe, 1871-1900

1871-1900 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Holmgren's coloured wool test for color blindness, in original case with instructions, USA. Full view, with box,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Holmgren's coloured word test in original case with instructions

The patient had to match one piece of wool to the samples in the box in this colour blindness test. There are light and dark shades to confuse the patient. This helped detect problems. The numbers on the pieces of wool were codes. The doctor used them to determine what type colour blindness the patient had.

Swedish physiologist Alarik Frithiof Holmgren (1831-1897) devised this test in 1874. He pursued his investigations following a railway accident in Sweden in 1876. The accident was believed to be caused by a colour blind train driver. Following Holmgren’s research, colour blindness tests were made compulsory for railway and shipping workers in Sweden.


Object Number:
cloth, metal, paper and wool
colour blindness test

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.