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Hering Colour Blind Apparatus (R. Rother)


The instrument consists of an upright trapezoidal wooden box with two panels that open on the front. The box forms an enclosed chamber with a telescope mounted on the top that allows subjects to look into the closed box. A rectangular piece at the base of the telescope houses mirrors in its opening. Four plates rest at various fixed heights within the chamber. The plates are adjusted by dials on top of the box, rotating on a horizontal axis.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.83

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Wood, Metal, Glass


“R. Rothe, Leipzig,” marked at the base of the telescope.

Dimensions (cm): Height = 46, Width = 19, Length = 40

Function: The detection of colour blindness.


The finish on the top surface of the wooden box is faded.

Associated Instruments: 2011.psy.5, 2012.psy.99, 2012.psy.100

Manufacturer: R. Rother, Leipzeig, Germany

Date of Manufacture: c. 1900


Department of Psychology, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:

Ewald Hering invented this apparatus for the detection of color-blindness. The subject looked down the main tube and saw a circular field, half red and half green. By moving reflecting screens the subject could change the hue of one half, the brightness of the other, and the saturation of both together. Subjects were asked to make the two halves match. If the match could be accomplished, the subject was deemed to be colour-blind. [Boring, 1957]

1) Boring, E. G. 1957. A history of experimental psychology. Appleton-Century-Crofts

2) Hering, E. 1890. “Zur Diagnostik der Farbenblinheit.” Arch, F. Ophthalm;, 36:217-233