Kymograph, London, 1925-1935

1925-1935 in London
C F Palmer (London) Limited

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Kymograph, on table, by C.F. Palmer and Co., London, 1925-1935, used by Sir Henry Dale, 1930-1940

The kymograph is a classic tool of laboratory research invented by the German physiologist Carl Ludwig (1816-1895) in 1847. One of its earliest uses was to measure the blood pressure during physiological experiments. A cannula connected to a U-shaped tube filled with mercury was inserted into the artery of an animal. On top of the mercury was a float attached to a pen. As the blood pulsated, the pen recorded the movement on smoked paper wrapped around the metal drum.

The kymograph is said to have transformed experimental physiology as the graphs produced allowed physiologists to see blood pressure on paper, giving them a permanent record of the experiment. The kymograph was later adapted to record muscle contractions and respiration. This kymograph was used by Sir Henry Dale (1875-1968), a English physiologist and pharmacologist.

Related people


Laboratory Medicine
Object Number:
ferrous alloy, copper alloy, paper, textile, wood, phenolic board, paxolin, rubber
large drum: 232 mm,
table height: 762 mm
beam: 1200 mm
Medical Research Council

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.