Schematic eye, after Ryland and Chalmers

Catalogue Number: 3518
Schematic eye, after Ryland and Chalmers
Category: Equipment
Sub-Category: Equipment, teaching
Designer/inventor: RYLAND Herbert S, CHALMERS S D.
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1906
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Description Of Item: Schematic eye for the practice of ophthalmoscopy and retinoscopy designed by Herbert S Ryland and S D Chalmers and patented in 1906, contained in a brown case, 128 mm W x 104 mm D x 37 mm H, lined with brown velvet, hinged lid with push button clip. The instrument is a black enamel metal cylinder, 35 mm L x 23 mm dia, with an adjustable variable iris diaphragm at one end and a screw-off cap at the other. The cylinder is marked 'HU-Model / Schematic Eye / Patent no. 4386'. It has a 50 mm long stem that can be screwed into a circular metal base 55 mm dia. There is a two lens holder in front that can be removed or the vertex distance from the 'eye' can be varied. Four glass 'lenses' are provided that simulate the optics of the eye from the cornea to the posterior vitreous of an emmetropic, myopic, hypermetropic eye and corneal astigmatism. In the case is a representation of the retina that can be inserted in the schematic eye. Enclosed in the case is an undated letter from Ernest Spencer to John (McGibbony) stating that the schematic eye was given to him by his uncle H. C. Spencer who practised (optometry?) in Kurrajong house, Collins St (Melbourne)
Historical Significance: This instrument was designed and probably also made in the Northampton Polytechnic Institute in London, which was founded in 1896. It established a Department of Technical Optics in 1903 to which Mr S. D, Chalmers MA (1877-1919) was appointed head. He was born in Australia. The Northampton Polytechnic Institute started one of the earliest optometry courses in the UK in a government chartered institution. It taught visual optics from 1898 and sight testing from 1903. Mr Herbert S Ryland was a teacher of visual and physiological optics at the Northampton Polytechnic Institute at this time, certainly in 1907. The patent on this instrument was 'Chalmers, S. D. and Ryland, H. S. British Patent No, 4386 (1906), An artificial or model eye for demonstration and practice purposes.' See Cat Nos. 1138 and 3243 for other examples of the Ryland Schematic eye.
How Acquired: Donated by Ernest Spencer, Melbourne optometrist (graduated LOSc 1951) via John McGibbony
Date Acquired: Not known
Condition: Fair. Case is scruffed and velvet lining worn
Location: Archive room. West wall. Unit 6 Drawer 4

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