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A rake-like object with a 13.5 cm wooden handle. Two metal probes are attached perpendicularly to the main metal bar of the “rake” (13 cm) and can slide along the bar. They are held in place by adjustment screws. The main bar of the device has a scale in millimeters that measures the distance between the probes.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.105

Alternative Name:

Esthesiometer; Ebbinghaus Aesthesiometer; Ästhesiometer nach Ebbinghaus

Primary Materials: Wood, Metal


Dimensions (cm): Height = 7, Width = 13, Length = 16.5


Used for psychophysical investigations of skin sensitivity. Used to investigate the finest difference in distance on the skin that can be reliably detected (“two-point threshold”). Different parts of the body are differently sensitive.

Condition: Good: minor corrosion to metal.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: E. Zimmermann, Leipzig

Date of Manufacture:


Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:

1) Zimmermann, E. 1923. <i>Liste 36: Über Apparate für Anthropometrie, Sinnesempfindungen und Sinnestäuschungen.</i> Leipzig, Berlin, pp. 11-12. For a catalogue listing of this instrument <a href=”″>including an illustration</a>. Available from <i>The Virtual Laboratory: Essays and Resources on the Experimentalization of Life</i> (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)