With the rise of the railways and commercial shipping, colour blindness became recognised as a potential threat to life. In 1855, George Wilson, an Edinburgh professor of technology, published Researches on Colour Blindness: with a Supplement on the Danger Attending the Present System of Railway and Marine Coloured Signals.
In 1875, physiologist Frithiof Holmgren linked a fatal railway crash in Sweden to a railway worker’s inability to distinguish between red and green signals. Propelled by his findings, Holmgren created his own method for testing colour vision; test subjects had to match up skeins of coloured wool.
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