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Component A: The instrument is mounted on a three-legged iron stand 18 cm tall. The instrument consists of a central cylinder in which several prisms would have been housed. Two 26 cm tubular arms with optical components radiate from the central cylinder horizontally. Another shorter optical component, 7 cm long, is also attached to the cylinder. A large cylindrical weight on a steel rod extends from the base of the central cylinder.

Component B: A small box containing three broken prisms from the spectroscope.

Accession Number: 2012.psy.104.a-b

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Iron, brass, glass


The lid is engraved “Franz Schmidt & Haensch, Berlin, Germany.”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 33, Width = 30, Length = 59


Used to measure the properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically used in spectroscopic analysis to identify materials


Good. Slight amounts of corrosion. Tape gum on one leg. Masking tape attached to lid.

Associated Instruments:

2012.psy.104.b – Prisms, broken; 2012.psy.86, another spectroscope


Franz Schmidt & Haensch, Berlin, Germany

Date of Manufacture:


Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:

1) University of Toronto Department of Psychology. Spectroscope. Available from <a href=”” target=”_blank”><wbr>museum/spectroscope.htm</a>. (Accessed Apr 4, 2012)

2) Baird, J. W., and R. J. Richardson (1900). A case of abnormal colour sense, with special reference to the space threshold of colours, University of Toronto Studies, Psychological Series, A. Kirschmann (Ed.), Vol. 1. Toronto: Librarian of the University of Toronto.

3) Boring, E. G. (1942). Sensation and Perception in the History of Experimental Psychology. New York: Appleton -Century. p. 155.

4) Titchener, (1915) Experimental Psychology, a Manual of Laboratory Practice: Volume II. Quantitative Experiments, Part II. Instructor’s Manual. New York: MacMillan. p. 39.