Hill and Barnard sphygmomanometer, London, England, 1886-1896
The original sphygmomanometer was devised by Samuel Von Basch (1837-1905) in 1881. It measured blood pressure by slowly applying a measured force to the skin over an artery until the pulse disappeared. This example is a variation known as a Hill and Barnard sphygmomanometer. It is named after its designers Dr Leonard Hill (1866-1952), a British physiologist, and Harold Barnard (1868-1908), a British surgeon. Measuring blood pressure as a health check only became common practice from the 1920s.
Related Themes and Topics
The throbbing of the arteries as blood flows through them. The pulse matches the rate at which the heart is beating.
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.
Glossary: blood pressure
The pressure at which blood is pumped around the body, closely related to the heart rate.