Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX H.: ON A PROPOSED CEPHALOGRAPH. - An Autobiography, vol. 1
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APPENDIX H.: ON A PROPOSED CEPHALOGRAPH. - Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography, vol. 1 
An Autobiography by Herbert Spencer. Illustrated in Two Volumes. Vol. I (New York: D. Appleton and Company 1904).
Part of: An Autobiography
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ON A PROPOSED CEPHALOGRAPH.
[This instrument was devised at the beginning of 1846, and the description of it was, as I infer from its character, intended to be published in “The Zoist,” to which I then occasionally contributed. A sample instrument, which I had made, was so ill made that it would not work. Partly disgust and partly pre-occupation prevented me from prosecuting the matter at the time, and before my thoughts were again turned to it, I had become sceptical about current phrenological views, and no longer felt prompted to employ a better instrument-maker. I here give the drawings and description, because, apart from my intended use of it, it may, I think, be useful to anthropologists as a means of obtaining exact delineations of individual skulls and, by composition of them, exact delineations of types of skulls.]
The use of our present imperfect mode of manipulation has been a great hindrance to the advance of Phrenology. To determine by touch or inspection, not only the relative sizes of the organs in a given head, but the ratio each of them bears to the average development of the same organ in other heads, is a task which no man, however acute his perceptions, is competent to execute with precision. It is first necessary that he should have a correct ideal standard with which he may mentally compare the head under examination; and even supposing him to have had a sufficiently wide experience for the formation of such a standard (which is very improbable), it is still unlikely that out of the variously formed heads examined, an exact average one has been conceived, that will correctly serve as a national type, both of size and configuration.
Neither is it an easy matter to estimate accurately the comparative sizes of the different parts of the same head. Between adjacent organs the ratio may be observed with some nicety, but to ascertain the relative developments of Sympathy and Combativeness, it is necessary to get a correct notion of the general dimensions of the head, and this cannot be obtained by mere manual examination with anything like certainty.
It may be further remarked that our statements of development must always continue very approximate, so long as we have no mode of determining how much greater or less than ordinary each particular organ may be.
To secure the great desideratum—a precise mode of measuring the head—several plans have already been invented, but, judging by their disuse, none of them have answered. In the hope that it may more effectually serve the intended purpose, the writer ventures to propose the instrument about to be described.
ABC (Fig. 1) is a triangular piece of mahogany, ebony, or other hard wood, having the angle ABC a right angle, and being similar in general form to what is technically called a set-square. D and E are smaller set-squares mortised into the sides of ABC, for the purpose of keeping the edge AB at right angles to the surface against which the base, CDBE, of the apparatus is placed. ab is a dovetailed groove, parallel to AB, and containing two slides, c and d, which are capable of being fixed by set-screws at any desired points. To these slides are attached the arms e and f of exactly the same lengths; the one ending in a rounded point, and the other carrying at its extremity a short tube enclosing an accurately fitted, metal-cased pencil, which is constantly pressed by the spring g against the surface upon which the instrument is placed. The general object of the arrangement is to keep the extremity of the index e, in all cases, vertically above the point of the pencil f.
Figs. 2, 3, and 4 show the mode of application. An approximate result may be obtained by placing the head against a door or a wall, with a sheet of paper interposed, requesting the subject to hold himself as steady as possible. To insure accurate diagrams, however, it is necessary to make use of a board, FG (Fig. 2), with a semicircular hoop, HK, moveable about a hinge, H, at each edge of the board, and having in the centre a screw, L, with a pad at its extremity, capable of being pressed against the head with the force requisite to keep it in the desired situation. A piece of paper having been attached to the board and the patient fixed, the instrument is adjusted to the position requisite for describing the intended section; and the extremity of the index, e, is then made to traverse the surface of the head from side to side, or from front to back, as the case may be, while the pencil f, being being kept in contact with the paper, traces upon it a duplicate of the line moved over by the end of the index, and describes the required section. It will be seen, from Fig. 2, that by fixing the index at different points in the groove, as many transverse sections may be described as are desired. Fig. 3 shows the same facility for obtaining longitudinal sections. And in Fig. 4 we have the arrangement for drawing horizontal ones, exhibiting the entire circumference of the head.
By superposing diagrams thus made on semi-transparent paper, there would be obtained an average form characterising the race and serving as a standard with which individual forms could be compared.