Portable electrocardiograph machine, Cambridge, England, 1928

1928 in Cambridge
Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company 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

Portable electrocardiograph machine, with film holder case, No. C109509, by the Cambridge Instrument Co. Ltd., 1928

Electrocardiographs (ECG) detect heart rhythms by measuring electrical activity. ECGs can detect heart problems such as artery disease, enlarged hearts and abnormal rhythms. Early machines were large and difficult to use. Patients had to soak their limbs in salt solution before an ECG could be taken. Cardiac monitors are now used extensively in hospitals. They are found in operating theatres, delivery suites and intensive care units. The first commercial ECG machine was developed by the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company in 1908.

An electrocardiogram is the visible result produced by the electrocardiograph. The first human electrocardiogram was made by Englishman A. D. Waller (1856-1922) in 1887. However, the modern practice of electrocardiography was made possible by the ‘string galvanometer’. This device was invented around 1903 by Dutch physiologist Willem Einthoven (1860-1927). Einthoven won the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine for his invention.


Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
aluminium and brass
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment

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

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

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.