Galton Whistle


In 1876, an English scientist named Francis Galton introduced a whistle for testing the upper limits of audible sound in different persons. One of Galton's discoveries was the loss of hearing in high frequencies as persons aged. The whistle was often used in later psychological experiments where the subject was asked to indicate the discernment of tones. The whistle's inability to emit a tone of constant pitch was it's main deficit, leading many researchers away from its use, especially as electronic equipment became available.

The “EDELMANN / MUNICH” inscription on this example is that of Max Thomas Edelmann, an instrument maker in Munich who improved the form in 1900. The serial number is 468.

Ref: “The Galton Whistle,” Science 12 (1900): 613.

Physikalisch-mechanischen Institut von Prof. Dr. M. Th. Edelmann & Sohn, Die Edelmannschen Grenzpfeifen (Galtonpfeifen) von D. M. Edelmann (Munich, 1921).

Galton, Francis, "Inquries into Human Faculty and Its Development: Whistles for Audibility of Shrill Notes (1883), in Dennis, W. Readings in the History of Psychology, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948: 277

Date Made: around 1900

Used At: Cornell UniversityMaker: Edelmann, H.Edelmann, Max Thomas

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany: Bavaria, Munich

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Cornell University Department of Psychology

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.300427.196Catalog Number: 300427.196Accession Number: 300427

Object Name: WhistleOther Terms: Whistle; Diagnostic Medicine

Physical Description: wood (overall material)metal (overall material)felt (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3.7 cm x 18.8 cm x 6.7 cm; 1 7/16 in x 7 3/8 in x 2 5/8 in


Record Id: nmah_727661

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