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Quincke Tube


This instrument is stored in a wooden box that is open at one end. The instrument consists of several long, intricately connected, thin, copper pipes are arranged horizontally and attached to a flat wooden base. The central section of the piping has an adjustable piece that can slide along the other pipes in a trombone-like manner. This sliding section has a piece of wood in the centre with an arrow attached to it that points to positions along a nearby centimeter ruler (1-20 cm), which is attached along one edge of the outer piping. The ruler is subdivided into mm. Some rubber is connected to parts of the metal tubing at the end of the tube.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.78

Alternative Name: Acoustic Interferometer

Primary Materials: Wood, Copper, Rubber


The number “13” is engraved on the bottom right corner of the instrument. There is a paper label attached to the outside of the box that reads “PROPERTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.”

Dimensions (cm):

Base: Height = 7, Width = 55, Length = 17.5; Instrument: Height = 4, Width = 46, Length = 17


This instrument is used to perform experiments in auditory localization. A sound source (tuning fork) would be placed at the entrance of the single input tube. The sound travels through the two tubes, of adjustable length, toward the two outputs. The middle unit can slide back and forth in order to adjust the phase conditions and create harmonics.


Instrument is in good condition with small scratches and abrasions.

Associated Instruments: 2012.psy.76, 77, 79, 94, 113


Date of Manufacture: c. 1910


Department of Psychology, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:

The psychology department owns several copies of this instrument, each numbered for classroom use.

The original instrument appeared in the <i>British Journal of Psychology</i> in 1908.

1) Richter, J. C. (1910). Review of the influence of binaural differences on the localization of sounds. <i>Psychological Bulletin</i>, 7(3), 101-103. Describes a similar instrument.