George Combe: a cased set of phrenology calipers with maker's mark of IR, Edinburgh 1825,
Lot 71
George Combe: a cased set of phrenology calipers with maker's mark of IR, Edinburgh 1825,
Sold for £3,290 (US$ 5,535) inc. premium
Auction Details
The Scottish Sale Edinburgh
23 Aug 2006 11:00 BST

Auction 13978
George Combe: a cased set of phrenology calipers with maker's mark of IR, Edinburgh 1825, Cased set of phrenology calipers Cased set of phrenology calipers Cased set of phrenology calipers
Lot Details
George Combe: a cased set of phrenology calipers
with maker's mark of IR, Edinburgh 1825, The handles and terminals formed as flowerheads, the rectangular silver case with floral thumb-piece, and presentation inscription to the cover which reads ' To George Combe Esqr. From Ladies Who Attended His Lectures On Phrenology in 1825 & 1826, 15cm x 9cm.

Footnotes

  • George Combe was an Edinburgh doctor and leading pioneer in the now discredited psuedo science of prenology. Phrenology dictated that the functions of the mind were located in distinct centres within the brain. Although this point has since been proven to be largely true, phrenology didn't stop there. It also claimed that these individual centres or "organs" varied in size according to the state of their development. Special callipers such as these were used to make careful measurement of the shape and number of bumps on the skull and it was believed that the phychological tendencies and character of the owner could be charted in this way.

    Combe did not invent phrenology but he did much to popularise it through his lectures and writings. His constitution of Man sold an astonishing 350,000 copies during the nineteenth century and outsold Darwin's Origin of Species by seven to one. A number of Combe's copies of his own works are included in this sale.

    This lot, following three lots and the books in lots 614a, 614b, 614c are being offered by Combe's descendants.
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