Sphygmomanometer, Leeds, England, 1920-1955

Made:
1920-1955 in Leeds and Leeds and
maker:
Charles F Thackray Limited
Sphygmomanometer apparatus, 1920-1955. Medical device used for measuring blood pressure. Made by C F Thackray, Leeds.

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

Sphygmomanometer apparatus, 1920-1955. Medical device used for measuring blood pressure. Made by C F Thackray, Leeds.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Sphygmomanometer apparatus, made by C.F. Thackray, Leeds, English, 1920-1955.

Modern sphygmomanometers are based on one devised by Scipione Riva-Rocci (1863-1937) in the 1890s. A sphygmomanometer measures blood pressure. It was invented in 1876. Riva-Rocci added the arm cuff. This inflates to cut off blood flow in an artery in the arm. A reading is taken when the pulse felt in the wrist disappears. This represents the maximum blood pressure.

Measuring blood pressure only became routine in medicine in the 1920s. Blood pressure is taken because it helps diagnose problems with the heart or arteries. This example was made by Chas F. Thackray Ltd, a surgical and medical instrument maker in Leeds, England.