Nowadays you can monitor your blood pressure with a wearable wristwatch type device, but it hasn't always been so. Although the ancient Greeks had first come up with the idea of a circulatory system within the human body, it wasn't until 1711 that blood pressure was first measured, when the Reverend Stephen Hales stuck a glass tube into a horse's artery. The horse died. Fast forward 144 years to 1855 and a device with an inflatable cuff to constrict the artery, was used for the first time. It was a beast of a thing, standing five and a half feet (1.68m) tall, and giving somewhat inconsistent results. It took a further fifty years of research and development before a sphygmomanometer like this came into existence.
The beautifully crafted hardwood box and rubber ball and hose were replaced by ugly plastic, probably in the late fifties or early sixties, and in 1974, Panasonic released the first digital blood pressure manometer.
For collectors of vintage and scientific equipment, this is a lovely Accoson hospital model (Inst. No. 108109). It would also make a lovely presentation gift for anyone retiring from the NHS, and at £65 (£58.50 if you use the discount code below) well within the scope of a whip round.
Steve's History in association with Steve's Vintage Collectables
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