Cumulative Recorder Built for B. F. Skinner by Ralph Gerbrands

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This motorized instrument contains a rotating reel of paper with a recording pen tip. It has metal sides, a wooden door in front of the paper, and a plastic cover on top. The glass ink holder, as well as a mount for a second pen, are stored separately. The cumulative recorder was an improvement on the kymograph that allowed experimenters not merely to record of individual events, but acquire a cumulative record of animal behavior. It was invented by the psychologist B.F. Skinner. This is an early commercial model, manufactured by Ralph Gerbrands.
A mark on a tag on the motor on the left side reads in part: REG. U.S. Telechron PAT. OFF. (/) MOTOR MOVEMENT (/) TYPE 1M9A-10M V 110/120 (/) MOT MOD M 1855 CY 60 W 4. It also reads: U.S. PAT 1768386 2184342 (/) TELECHRON INC. (/) ASHLAND MASS MADE IN U.S.A.
Kennon A. Lattal, “Steps and Pips in the History of the Cumulative Recorder,” Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2004, vol. 82, 329-355.
Accession File.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1955
Gerbrands, Ralph
Physical Description
metal (frame, carriage, pen holder, mechanism material)
plastic (cover material)
paper (paper material)
wood (door material)
glass (ink holder material)
overall: 17 cm x 45 cm x 23.5 cm; 6 11/16 in x 17 23/32 in x 9 1/4 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of B. F. Skinner
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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