Galton Whistle

Galton Whistle

Usage conditions apply
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 refers to 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
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
Whistle; Diagnostic Medicine
date made
around 1900
used at
Cornell University
Edelmann, H.
Edelmann, Max Thomas
place made
Germany: Bavaria, Munich
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
felt (overall material)
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
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Cornell University Department of Psychology
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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