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Pair of chest callipers, England, 1950-1965

Chest measurements were taken using this pair of callipers. They were used in the X-ray department of the Prince of Wales Hospital, Tottenham, London. Taking such measurements let physicians assess lung function. This was effective when combined with X-rays to diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis, which had traditionally been very difficult to diagnose. People who appeared ‘healthy’ could still show signs of the disease and therefore spread TB. Signs include lesions in the lungs, which could be revealed by X-ray. The callipers are made of wood and metal and were manufactured by Dutch company Philips.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: measurement

Measurement is the process of estimating the magnitude of some attribute of an object, such as its length or weight, relative to some standard (unit of measurement), such as a meter or a kilogram. The act of measuring usually involves using a measuring instrument, such as a ruler, weighing scale, thermometer or speedometer which is calibrated to compare the measured attribute to a measurement unit. Metrology is the scientific study of measurement.

Glossary: calliper

Instruments consisting usually of a pair of hinged legs used for measuring dimensions, for example thickness or diameters.

Glossary: respiratory disease

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