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Pulse glass in wooden case

This sand glass looks like an old-fashioned egg timer. British epidemiologist and civil servant Sir George Buchanan (1831-1895) once owned it. He was once head of the Public Health Department in England. He used it as an aid when timing a patient’s pulse. It was filled with a grey powder. The sand glass was designed to run for exactly one minute.

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Glossary: pulse

The throbbing of the arteries as blood flows through them. The pulse matches the rate at which the heart is beating.

Glossary: sand-glass

Device to measure equal periods of time by the motion of sand or other free-flowing, fine-grained substances through a narrow aperture between two triangular or conical glass bulbs arranged mouth to mouth; probably introduced in the early 14th century and used then especially for timekeeping on board ships. Hour-glass or minute-glass are specific examples.