Holmgren wool test (of colour vision)

Catalogue Number: 624
Holmgren wool test (of colour vision)
Category: Equipment
Sub-Category: Colour Vision Test
Designer/inventor: HOLMGREN, Alarik Frithiof
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: not known
Time Period: 19th C
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: not known
Publisher/Manufacturer: not known
Description Of Item: Cardboard box 182 mm long x 102 mm wide x 73 mm high, with green coloured lid and natural colour box, containing coloured skeins of wool. The origin and date of this example of the test is unknown and it is different from that held in other museums (see the examples held in the British College of Optometrists)
Historical Significance: Alarik Frithiof Holmgren (1831-1897) was a Swedish physiologist who trained with von Brucke in Vienna and Helmholtz in Heidelberg. He was professor of physiology at Upsala, Sweden, from 1864. He researched the ERG but is best remembered for his studies of colour vision and colour blindness and railway and maritime colour vision standards. His investigations were initiated by a railway accident at Lagerlunda in Sweden in April 1876 which he believed was due to colour blindness of the engine-driver, although it is doubtful if this is true . Holmgren surveyed 266 employees on the Uppsala-Gavle railway line and found 13 who were colour-blind. He was a vigorous advocate. lecturing on the dangers of DCV in USA and Europe and in 1877 colour tests had been prescribed for railway and shipping personnel in Sweden. See http://www.whonamedit.com/doctor.cfm/2202.html and Vingrys AJ, Cole BL Origins of colour vision standards Ophthal Physiol Optics 1986, 6, 369. This test was used by the British Board of Trade to test the colour vision of seafarers from 1895 to 1913 and by some railway companies. There are variations on it, namely the Holmgren-Thomson test, Olivers' worsted test, Thomson's Stick, Donders' Wool Test. See Jennings Color-Vision and Color-Blindness: Practical Manual for Railroad Surgeons 1905 Cat # 66. Instructions for use of the test can be found in Swanzy Handbook of Diseases of the Eye 1897. (see Cat No 625.
Condition: Good
Location: Archive room. West wall. Unit 1 Drawer 2

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