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Bloch type sphygmomanometer, Paris, France, 1881-1913

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The first 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. However, the instrument was not widely used as doctors were wary of replacing traditional methods of using their fingers to determine pulse or that any information from the sphygmomanometer was useful. This variation was devised by A. M. Bloch. It uses a spring to record the weight necessary to obliterate the pulse. The device was made in Paris by scientific instrument maker Charles Verdin.

Object number:

A600404

 

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: 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.

Glossary: blood pressure

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