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Robert Dudgeon’s sphygmograph, London, England, 1876

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Blood pressure is measured and recorded using a sphygmograph. It is strapped to the wrist. The pulse beat is transmitted to a lever which records it on smoked paper. The first efficient sphygmograph was designed by Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) in 1863. This example belonged to Dr Robert Ellis Dudgeon (1820-1904). He was a prominent figure in homeopathy. Dudgeon also made his own changes to Marey’s original design. It was made by instrument maker J. Gauter in 1876. In the late 1800s, physiology teachers used sphygmographs to visually demonstrate blood pressure. Instruments such as this were also valuable diagnostic aids. They were the predecessor of the modern arm cuffs physicians now use to measure blood pressure.

Object number:

A600283

 

Glossary:

Glossary: pulse

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

Glossary: sphygmograph

An instrument used to measure the pulse. It records the strength and rate of a person's pulse. Records are recorded on graph paper.

Glossary: blood pressure

The pressure at which blood is pumped around the body, closely related to the heart rate.