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Circumferential chest measurer, or cyrtometer, Paris, France 1830-1880

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A cyrtometer measures or traces the outline of curved surfaces of the body. This chest measurer is described as a ‘Cyrtograph de Bernard’. It hinges at the back to open up and surround the chest. 14 adjustable slides then measure the circumference of the patient’s chest. It also monitored the chest’s movement during breathing. This helped diagnose medical conditions including tuberculosis. It was made by French instrument maker Mathieu in Paris between 1830 and 1880.

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Glossary: stethometer

An apparatus for measuring the external movements of a given point of the chest wall, during respiration; also called thoracometer.

Glossary: tuberculosis

An infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. The disease usually affects the lungs first, and is accompanied by a chronic cough.

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.