Category Archives: 1890s

Spirometer, Speck, 1892


Designed to measure ventilation during exercise.  Subject inhaled from the spirometer on the left and exhaled into the spirometer on the right.  Counterweights were added as the left spirometer bell rose above the water level and removed as the right spirometer bell fell.  Originally from: Carl Speck, Physiologies des Menschlichen. Atmens nach eigenen Untersuchungen, 1892.

Exercise Testing with spirometer, 1895


Found on Flickr.  Image from page 180 of “Transactions – American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers” (1895)

“Fig. 18 View in Observation Room looking toward south wall. In the upper center ofthe picture is the Body Temperature Recorder. In the lower right corner Is the Bicycle Ergometer, the controlling rheostat being located on the table. At the left is seen a spirometer used to collect and measure exhaled air.”

Spirometer, Joal’s, 1895


From “On respiration in singing” by Joseph Joal, Published by F.J. Rebman, 1895, page 84.

“…this instrument has a double Mariotte’s vase, composed of two chambers, placed over one another and separated by two semi-circular diaphragms, F H, which are joined by a vertical septum.  The two chambers are put into communication by tube I.  The apparatus being half full of water, and the liquid filling the upper reservoir, if we breathe by the mouthpiece A, a quantity of water is displaced, and flows out of the upper reservoir, into the lower one; the graduated glass permitting us to determine the level of the liquid.

“When the upper chamber is empty it suffices to turn the instrument upside down, corking the tube E, and placing the mouthpiece on the chamber D, at the same time that we raise the screw C, and close the opening C.”

Spirometry, 1892


From: Manual for Physical Measurements in Connection with the Association Gymnasium Records, by Luther Halsey Gulick, published by International committee of Young men’s Christian associations, 1892, page 39.

“After inflating the lungs to their utmost capacity, blow slowly into the spirometer.  Three trials may be allowed.  Record the greatest one.”

Marey Pneumograph, late 1800’s, close-up


The Marey Pneumograph was a pressure-sensing device and was used to measure respiration.  Although it was sensitive it was not terribly accurate but it was the first device able to do what it did.  The descriptions of the Marey Pneumograph from the late 1800’s implied that the diaphragm was a disk of thin metal but from this photograph it seems far more likely it was thin rubber or another similar material.  Shown is a close-up of the diaphragm mechanism. This device was originally called a pneumograph but a later invention of Marey’s, which consisted of an elastic device strapped across the chest that directly measured the expansion and contraction of the thorax with breathing took that name and this is more correctly known as the Marey Tambour.  Photograph is courtesy of Pierre Moutonnet.