Calliper used to measure head size

Made:
1886-1927 in London
maker:
Arnold and Sons

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Phrenological calliper, possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Phrenological calliper, possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Phrenological calliper, possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Phrenological calliper, possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Phrenological calliper, possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Phrenological calliper(?), possibly nickel-plated brass, from the British Phrenological Society, by Arnold and Sons, London.

Not much is known about this instrument. It is thought that it was used by phrenologists to take accurate measurements of the head. Phrenology was a practice based on the belief that personality could be read from the bumps and lumps of someone’s skull (and thus the underlying structure of the brain). Made by Arnold & Sons, surgical instrument makers, the callipers were once owned by the British Phrenological Society. Founded in 1886, the Society closed in 1967.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Details

Category:
Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
1999-395
Measurements:
closed: 20 mm x 237 mm x 140 mm, .2 kg
fully open: 20 mm x 345 mm x 175 mm, .2 kg
type:
callipers
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
credit:
Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

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