Identified! [Woman seated with a psychograph, a phrenology machine, on her head] (LOC)

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1931

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Photos displaying on either side of this one in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog may yield clues—view the neighboring photos:

Harris & Ewing,, photographer.

[Woman seated with a psychograph, a phrenology machine, on her head]


1 negative : glass ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller

Title information from Flickr Commons Project, 2015.
Date based on date of negatives in same range.
Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955.

United States.

Format: Glass negatives.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,

Part Of: Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)

General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: LC-H2- B-4880


Owner: The Library of Congress
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 156204
libraryofcongress dc:identifier=httphdllocgovlocpnphec36580 xmlns:dc=httppurlorgdcelements11 robotphrenologist phrenology mysterysolved

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  • profile


    • 02/Oct/2015 19:23:25

    It keeps the aliens from messing with your mind.

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    bawdy kittens

    • 02/Oct/2015 19:46:42

    It's an electric vacuum dandruff remover which gives you a smile like Mickey Mouse ??

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    • 02/Oct/2015 20:10:14

    It measures the shape of your head (phrenology).

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    • 02/Oct/2015 20:24:50

    My guesses: 1) Some sort of hat measuring device. 2) (more likely) Something to do with some kind of pseudoscientific quackery--it has that look about it, like something trying to look like a sophisticated device.

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    bawdy kittens

    • 02/Oct/2015 20:47:46

    Looking at the photos on either side of this the connection is obviously "Hoover" and "Walt Disney" so maybe there's some kind of political brain washing machine prototype on trial here ??

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    bawdy kittens

    • 02/Oct/2015 20:55:38

    Seems to be working as well. I wonder what happened to the lady who volunteered for the photograph ... probably married a General ... and did the operator later work for the CIA ?? Obviously this is just my cynical speculation ...

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    bawdy kittens

    • 02/Oct/2015 20:57:45

    [] You got it mate, thanks! Should have followed the link! Thanks ...

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    Joe Schneid

    • 02/Oct/2015 23:37:11

    I see Edward identified the machine but I thought I would share my first thought. It reminded me of the permanent wave machine in my mothers beauty shop, circa 1949.

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    • 03/Oct/2015 00:57:52

    Fun set.

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    Mr. Kimberly

    • 03/Oct/2015 05:27:50

    Phrenology machine. I had my head examined by one at the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices (no longer open)... Rob Getting His Bumps Checked at the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices

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    • 03/Oct/2015 18:33:45

    I agree with Andrew, that was a fun set

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    A.M. Kuchling

    • 03/Oct/2015 21:57:03

    The collection of the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices was transferred to the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the phrenology machine is currently on display. It would produce a list of careers you were suited for. My wife got a reading on our visit, and one of her careers was "Zeppelin Pilot".

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    • 04/Oct/2015 14:11:12

    Oh, I want to get a reading! Next time I'm in Minnesota...

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    • 05/Oct/2015 03:59:54

    Vinz Clortho?

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    • 05/Oct/2015 17:50:10

    That's Doc Brown's telepathy device from 1955

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    momentous growth

    • 06/Oct/2015 12:27:10

    +++! :)

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    Jon (LOC P&P)

    • 07/Oct/2015 21:04:53

    Good work Edward. I looked into a bit more and apparently the creators called it a psychograph. I guessing they could get more buyers if it sounded scientific.

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    Jon (LOC P&P)

    • 07/Oct/2015 21:05:45

    We'll update the catalog record. Robert Kimberly, did it give an accurate reading?

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    • 08/Oct/2015 02:13:32 haha I was thinking the same thing.

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    Jon (LOC P&P)

    • 14/Apr/2023 20:33:34

    We recently found some old catalog cards for Harris & Ewing that had a caption for this photo. The caption for this photo should be: "MIND READING APPARATUS AT INDUSTRIAL EXHIBIT. One of the many interesting exhibits at the Seventh Annual Industrial Exposition of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, is the “Psycograph”, which analyzes the mental faculties. The idea of the invention is to enable a person to analyze his own characteristics and use more strongly the ones which are most valuable. Miss Kay Campion of Newark, N.J., is giving a demonstration at the Washington Auditorium. Secretary of Labor William Doak officially opened the Industrial Exposition to-day and will be the principal speaker to-night. 10-26-31"