Catalogue Number: 81
Visual illusions, their causes, characteristics and applications [Spine title: Visual illusions and their applications]
Sub-Category: Significant book (Aitken collection)
Author: LUCKIESH, Matthew
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1922
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: New York
Publisher/Manufacturer: D. Van Nostrand
Description Of Item: This book is hard cover, 230 x 150 mm, with 252 pages including an index followed by a list of 8 other books by the author. The book has 15 chapters starting with the eye (Ch 2) and vision (Ch 3) and proceeds to deal with geometrical illusions, equivocal figures, mirror magic and camouflage among other topics. The emphasis is on experimental facts rather than theory. See also Brewster Letters on natural magic, addressed to Sir Walter Scott, Bart. in this collection for another view on illusions.
Historical Significance: Matthew Luckiesh DSc, DE, (1883 - 1967) was a physicist and, as the Director of General Electric's Lighting Research Laboratory at its Nela Park National Lamps Works facility in East Cleveland, Ohio, he pursued research on light and vision. In his day, he was known as the "Father of the Science of Seeing." at least in the world of illuminating engineering. He developed several theories on colour and its physiological effect on people. He was also interested in determining the conditions under which optimal visibility was achieved, and in examining the relationship between light and seeing, in order to design better types of lamps. During World War I he studied camouflage, and later invented artificial sunlight and germicidal lamps. Luckiesh produced eleven U.S. patents, 28 books and about 860 scientific and technical articles, published between 1911 and 1960. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest "My name is pronounced as if it were spelled loo'kish. The u in the first syllable is the u in rude, and the second syllable rhymes with dish." He devised the MAZDA Filament Lamp, which was designed to create mood and to resemble the color of flicking flames and the MAZDA Daylight Lamp, that had coiled tungsten filaments and transparent blue glass to produce high colour temperature daylight. In 1940, he and Frank Moss compared 5th and 6th grade students in well-lit classrooms to students in regular (poorly-lit) classrooms, and found significant increases in the scores on the New Stanford Achievement Test for students in the well-lit classrooms, although the study may be flawed by confounding variables. Luckiesh also developed the 'Visibility Meter' with Frank Moss. This device, used over a wide range of lighting applications, consists of a pair of similar photographic gradient filters, which increase in density when rotated together before the eyes. The filters reduce the apparent brightness of the observed field without lowering the contrast between the object of view and its background.
How Acquired: Donated by
Location: Nathan Library. Aitken collection