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Ranschburg Memory Device


A wooden box supported to stand upright at an angle. There is a trap door that covers the disk mechanism. There is a small slit in the trap door. A disk fits on internal motor that spins it at an adjustable rate. When the trap door is down over the disk, only one small portion of the disc is visible through the slit in the trap door.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.90

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: wood, metal, paper


Previous catalogue number = “PSY 19”. Metal plaque says: “E. ZIMMERMAN – LIEPZIG – Emilienstrasse 21”.

Dimensions (cm): Height = 21, Width = 21, Length = 10


Presents a series of visual stimuli successively, at a specified rate, to be memorized. Symbols, letters, numbers are written on the white disk, and temporarily revealed through the exposure slot.


Good, but there are two large cracks extending from the slit in the object’s door/lid. Some scuffs, nicks and small gouges in the lid surface.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: E. Zimmermann

Date of Manufacture: c. 1903


Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Ranschburg, P. (1901). Monatsschr. f. Psyhiatr. u. Neurol., v. 10, p. 321.

Historical Notes:

  • Donated to UTSIC