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Hill and Barnard-type sphygmomanometer, London, England, 1891-1900

A sphygmomanometer is used to measure blood pressure. A rubber cuff was inflated above the elbow to block the pulse in the lower arm. When the pulse disappeared, the sphygmomanometer needle stopped vibrating to give a reading. This type of sphygmomanometer was invented in the 1890s by Sir Leonard Hill (1866-1952), a British physiologist, and Harold Barnard (1868-1908), a British surgeon. Measuring blood pressure as part of a health check did not become common practice until the 1920s. The device was made by James Joseph Hickman (1837-1916), a scientific instrument maker. It is shown here in a display depicting a consultation with a doctor in 1900.

Object number:

A600280

 

Glossary:

Glossary: sphygmomanometer

An instrument used by medical staff to measure blood pressure. Usually made up of a cuff which is placed around the arm of a patient, and a measuring unit that shows the patient's blood pressure.