Fowler's phrenological head, English, 1860-1896.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Viennese physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) proposed that the contours of the skull followed the brain's shape, each region controlling an aspect of personality or behaviour. Feeling the lumps was like reading the mind. He called his system organology, but was later known as phrenology, derived from the Greek 'phren': mind. By the 1850s interest in phrenology had declined, but American brothers Lorenzo Niles (1811-1896) and Orson S Fowler (1809-1887) revived it in the 1860s. Their phrenological head provided a three-dimensional reference guide to asist the reading of a subject's skull. The Fowlers lectured throughout Britain and established several phrenological institutions and societies.