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Dudgeon type sphygmograph, London, England, 1881-1920

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A sphygmograph takes the pulse. The device is strapped to the wrist and the metal button placed on the pulse point. The connected needle or pen device moved up and down as the pulse was felt through the button. This created a graphic representation. The sphygmograph was invented in 1860. Robert Ellis Dudgeon (1820-1904) introduced a lightweight version in 1881. It could be carried in the pocket. This example was made by Mayer & Meltzer. Doctors rarely used the sphygmograph. They preferred using their fingers to take their patients’ pulses. However, the sphygmograph was used in physiological research.

Object number:

A600373 Pt1

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Glossary: physiology

The science of the functioning of living organisms and their component parts.

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.