Category Archives: 1880s

Spirometer, Barton, 1888


Patent number 392,711 by W.H.H. Barton.

“The instrument consists, essentially, of a flexible, collapsible, non-elastic reservoir or bag, preferably elongated or substantially cylindrical in shape, proved with a scale that indicates the cubic contents of the different portions of said bag when distended or filled.

“The bag or reservoir is provided at one end with a spindle or roll upon which the unfilled portion may be wound, so that the scale will indicate the cubic contents of the part of the reservoir that is filled.  The said spindle or roll preferably forms the inlet to the reservoir and is provided with a suitable mouthpiece. One important advantage to this kind of spirometer arises from the fact that their is no back-pressure of the atmosphere, and the instrument is very light, compact and inexpensive.”

Respiration Apparatus, Voit’s, 1887


From Treatise on human physiology by Henry Cadwalader Chapman, Published by Lea Brothers & Co, 1887, page 446.

“We therefore, usually determine at the same time the amount of carbonic acid and water exhaled by the system, and for this purpose we make use of Voit’s respiration apparatus.  This consists, as constructed by C. Stollventner and Sohn of Munich (Fig. 252), of a chamber (H) in which the subject of the experiment, a large dog, for example, is placed; of a large drum, and pumps worked by a waterwheel for the production of a constant draught of fresh air through the apparatus; of bottles and tubes containing appropriate materials for the absorption of water and carbonic acid of the air surrounding the chamber, as well as that from within it; and of meters for registering the total amount of air that has passed through the chamber analyzed for comparison.”

Respiration Apparatus, Ludwig’s, 1887


From Treatise on human physiology by Henry Cadwalader Chapman, Published by Lea Brothers & Co, 1887, page 446.

“A more modern apparatus used by Ludwig and his pupils, differs from that of Regnualt and Reiset just described, not so much in principle as in certain mechanical details. The most noticeable of these is the ingenious contrivance by means of which the oxygen expired passes from g (Fig. 251) into the respiratory tube d, communicating through an air-tight covering with the nostrils of the animal at e, alternately with the passage of the carbonic acid expired into the bulbs f, and which is accomplished through the alternate expansion and contraction of valve c. For with the rarefaction of the air through inspiration the valve c is drawn from the end of the tube b, the effect of which is that the air entering the tube b drives the water out of a, which in turn drives the oxygen out of g into the tube d.  On the other hand, with the condensation of the air through expiration, the valve c is forced back close to the end of tube b, the flow of oxygen from the tube d ceases, the carbonic acid exhaled passing into the bulbs f.”

Respiraton Apparatus, Valentin and Brunner, 1887


From Treatise on human physiology by Henry Cadwalader Chapman, Published by Lea Brothers & Co, 1887, page 438.

“Let us endeavor to determine the amount of oxygen absorbed, and that of carbonic acid, etc., exhaled in a given time.  This can be done is several ways the simplest of which consists in comparing the composition of the ordinary atmospheric air with that which has been breathed, with the object of determining the amount of oxygen absorbed during one inspiration, and multiplying this by the minutes, hours, etc. in order to obtain, approximately at least, the amount of oxygen absorbed in the twenty-four hours. The apparatus of Valentin and Brunner, as used by the author for this object, consists (Fig. 249) of a Woulff’s bottle A having a capacity of about a liter (61 cubic in.). One of the openings communicates with the mouth-piece B, into which the person expires, the air first passing through pumice-stone and sulphuric acid C so as to dry it. The middle opening communicates with the set of tubes G H I K.  H and I contain phosphorus and baryta for the absorption of the oxygen and carbonic acid of the expired air, G and K pumice stone, etc., that of G for the absorption of watery vapors that may have escaped, the pumice-stone, etc., in C K for retaining that taken up by the dry air passing through the baryta solution, and which, if lost, would cause an error in the estimate of the carbonic acid exhaled, the tubes being weighed before and after the experiment. Through the middle opening of the Woulff’s bottle a funnel (D) provided with a stopcock is introduced, the opening then being hermetically closed.  The funnel is filled with a know quantity of mercury. The manner of using the apparatus is as follows: having breathed for say fifteen minutes through the mouthpiece until the air of the Woulff’s bottle has been entirely displaced by the expired air, the mouth-piece is entirely closed, any external air being further prevented from passing into the Woulff’s bottle by the mercury in E acting as a valve, the air-tightness of the apparatus being assured by the rise of the mercury in the tube F, through the contraction of expired air in A, consequent upon its cooling and the closure of the tube funnel. The stopcock of the funnel being then turned, the mercury passes into the Woulff’s bottle, displacing a know quantity of expired, the latter passing into the set of tubes G H I K, previously adjusted to the middle opening.  The weight of the tubes H and I having been previously determined, their increase in weight will give, respectively, the amount of cabonic acid and oxygen absorbed.”

Spirometer, Brubaker’s Respiration Apparatus, 1887


From Treatise on human physiology by Henry Cadwalader Chapman, Published by Lea Brothers & Co, 1887, page 433.

“In determining the amount of air inspired or expired by an animal in a given time, we make use of a convenient apparatus constructed for this purpose by Dr. A.P. Brubaker, and which, in principle, is essentially the same as that commonly known as Rosenthal’s apparatus.  It consists of a small spirometer (Fig. 247), the internal cylinder or gasometer (D) having a capacity of 700 c. cm. (43 in.) and equipoised by a bag of shot. Through the under part of the outer cylinder (E), which is firmly cemented to the stand, passes a T-shaped tube (D) connected with the tubes and valves which transmit the air to and from the gasometer. To one end of the tube (K) passing from the mask closely fitting to the face of the animal is adapted a tube (I) for transmitting the air to be inspired, and to the other end the tube and valve (M N O) for carrying off the expired air.  The valves (F N) just referred to, are the same as those used by Voit in his respiratory apparatus shortly to be described, and consist of oval glass bulbs containing mercury.  It is evident that as long as these valves are in the position shown in Fig. 247 the air will only pass in the direction indicated by the arrows.  By reversing the valves (F N) the expired air will return back to the spirometer, and so can be measured.  In using the apparatus the gasometer must be first raised by the hand through the whole extent or to a given height, to volume of air entering being determined by the scale.  As soon as the gasometer has descended by exhaustion of the air through the inspiration of the animal it must be raised again – this, if the observation is to last any length of time.  By connecting the tube G with a suitable reservoir the animal can be made to breath any gas that is desired, and the amount inspired in a given time approximately determined, the fluid used in the spirometer will then depend upon the kind of gas.”

Spirometer, Hawksley, modified Hutchinson, 1887


From Treatise on human physiology by Henry Cadwalader Chapman, Published by Lea Brothers & Co, 1887, page 430.

“The instrument described by Hutchinson, and somewhat modified by Hawksley for the author, consists (Fig. 246) essentially of a cylindrical vessel (A), with a capacity of about 7.5 liters (2 gal.), containing water, out of which a receiver (B) can be elevated and depressed by breathing into it through a tube (C), and then the height to which the receiver is elevated and depressed, as shown by the scale D indicating the volume of air expired and inspired.  In using the spirometer, it should be placed upon a firm, level table, about three feet from the ground.  The water tap then having been turned off, and the air tap opened, clear, cold water is poured through the spout of the cylindrical vessel A, until it is full, any excess of water running off by the tap in communication with the air tube.  Enough colored spirit is poured into the U-shaped tube, until it stands about 3.5 inches.  The counterpoising weights being then suspended within the framework M, and over the pulleys, and the air tap closed, the instrument is ready for an observation. The person whose breath capacity is to be determined standing erect with head through backward, and loosely attired, applied by the mouth-piece the flexible tube C to his mouth and expires into the spirometer.  The air from his lungs passes thence into tube E, elevating the receiver B, by the volume of air expired, expressed in cubic inches, being shown bu the number of the scale to which the index connected with the receiver has been elevated.  At the termination of the expiratory effort, the air-tap must be closed.

Spirometer, Marsh’s, 1889


From: Catalogue of Sharp & Smith, Importers, Manufacturers, Wholesale and Retail Dealers in Surgical Instruments, Printed by Blakely Printing Company, 1889, Page 529.


Advertisement from: The Homoeopathic Guide, Published by Munson & Co., 1881.  Fronticepiece.

To use Marsh’s spirometer the subject exhaled into the balloon.  A measuring tape attached to the balloon measured the circumferance and therefore the volume exhaled. A criticism from elsewhere was that the balloons broke frequently and that it required 20 mm Hg of pressure “before any test of the expired breath can be recorded”.