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Colour Variator (Zimmermann)


A metal tripod with adjustable height supporting a long cylindrical instrument attached horizontally to a platform at the top of the tripod. The platform of the instrument supports a rotating shaft the length of which can be adjusted by a wheel at the back of the shaft. There are two pulleys at the rear of the shaft where the instrument may be attached to an electric motor using a belt. There is a rotating disc at the opposite end of the instrument to which colour discs can be attached. An 8 cm scale with mm increments is attached to the platform. The black legs of the tripod have gold-coloured lined edges. The three feet each have two screw holes, presumably used to secure the instrument to a table. Another measurement scale is located on the adjustment wheel.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.73

Alternative Name:

Variable Colour Mixer, Variable Color Mixer

Primary Materials: Steel

Markings: “E. Zimmerman Leipzig”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 36, Width = 32, Length = 38


Used for experiments with colour vision.


Signs of corrosions, rust, chipping, and scratches throughout. Some of the horizontal top components still have oil on their surface.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: E. Zimmermann, Leipzig, Germany

Date of Manufacture: c. 1905.


Department of Psychology, University of Toronto.

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes: