Historical Equipment Library

These items are no longer used in physiological research.

  • Palmer_Voltmeter

    C.F. Palmer (London) AC Voltmeter

    (Donated by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Duke University)
  • Beam_Balance

    Beam Balance

    Used to weigh small amounts of chemicals to as little as 0.1 mg. (ca. early 1900s)
  • Cambridge_Drop_Camera

    Cambridge Drop Camera

    Used by Sir John Eccles in the 1930s and 1940s to study nerve conduction. Eccles received the Nobel Prize in 1963 for his work. The camera was a Centennial present from the Physiological Society of New Zealand, presented by Anthony D. Macknight, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Oscilliscope_Camera

    Oscilliscope Camera

    Manufactured by D. Schackman and Sons, England. Used to produce a permanent recording of oscilliscope displays, usually of membrane action potentials, contractility traces, and channel currents. (Donated by Robert Hill)
  • Electical_Switch

    Electrical Switch

    Connects between battery and inductorium and was used to turn on stimulation.
  • Wyman_Ergometer

    C.F. Palmer Levin-Wyman Ergometer

    Used to measure mechanical properties of muscle, specifically tension-length curves for stretches and releases at different constant speeds. (Donated by Robert Hill)
  • Tube_Flowmeter

    Bristle Tube Flowmeter

    Used to measure blood flow. (ca. 1950s)
  • Einthoven_Galvanometer

    Einthoven Galvanometer

    (aka String Galvanometer) Developed by Willem Einthoven (1860-1927), recipient of Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1924. A weak electric current is carried in a single filament suspended in a strong magnetic field, its deflection recorded with the aid of a beam of light reflected from an attached mirror. (Donated by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Duke University)
  • Leeds_Galvanometer

    Leeds and Northrup WBM-2420-C Galvanometer

    With a tri-volt doorbell transformer and light-sensitive photoelectric cell for determination of creatinine concentrations. (Donated by Robert Hill)
  • Mirror_Galvanometer

    Mirror Galvanometer

    Electrical signals from heart caused the movement of a little mirror (like a tiny motor) in a magnetic field, causing deflection of a light beam, that like a lever arm, would be to "amplify" the deflection of the mirror. The tracing would be recorded on a moving photographic paper or film.
  • Stampfli_Apparatus

    Stampfli-Type Sucrose Gap Apparatus

    Made according to the papers of Berger and Barr. (Donated by Robert Hill)
  • Scholander_Analyzer

    Scholander 1/2 CC Gas Analyzer

    Designed in the 1940s by P.F. Scholander, this was used for precise volumetric analysis of respiratory gases. Mechanical parts were made by Otto Hebel, Instrument Maker at Swarthmore College, when Laurence Irving and Scholander were there. Glass part was blown by Jim Graham at the University of Pennsylvania. Donated by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Duke University.
  • Induction_Coil_a

    Induction Coil

    From the Harvard Apparatus Company. (Donated by A. Clifford Barger)
  • Induction_Coil

    Induction Coil (Phipps and Bird, Inc., 1925)

    Primary coil connected to ordinary galvanic battery. When switch closes to permit current to flow in primary coil, an impulse is generated in 2nd coil. As current continues flowing in the primary, nothing more happens in the secondary, until current in the primary is interrupted. A 2nd impulse is then generated in the secondary. 2 impulses in secondary are not identical & therefore designated as "make" & "break" impulses, respectively. (Donated by K. Schmidt-Nielsen, Duke University)
  • Inductorium_Base

    Inductorium on a Cherry Wood Base

    Used to generate electrical pulses for stimulation of nerves and muscles. (ca. 1890-1920)
  • Clockwork_Kymograph

    Clockwork Kymograph

    (Donated by Tomuo Hoskiko, Case Western Reserve University)
  • Smoke_Kymograph

    Smoke Drum Kymograph

    Used for recording muscle contractions, blood pressure, heart volume, respiration, GI tract activity, etc. (ca. late 1800s - 1950s)
  • Bausch_and_Lomb_Microscope

    Bausch and Lomb Optical Company Microscope, 1876

    Used by Warren P. Lombard, APS President 1919-1920, in his research.
  • Leitz_Microscope

    Leitz Microscope

  • Dubois_Oscilliograph

    Dubois Oscilliograph, 1929

    (Donated by John R. Pappenheimer, Harvard Medical School)
  • Coleman_Photometer

    Coleman Anoxia Photometer, 1944

    Based on first oximeter designed by G.A. Millikan, J.R. Pappenheimer, A.J. Rawson, and J.E. Hervey. (Presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society, 1941.)
  • Radiometer


    Used during WWII in the Harvard Fatigue Lab to measure radiation content of heat loss through the Arctic Uniform when soldiers were exposed to an environment of -40 degrees F. The design of the instrument consists of 4 mirrors focusing on a thermopile. (Donated by G. Edgar Folk)
  • Radiometer_2

    Radiometer - Radiant Energy

    The device measured Radiant Energy (mainly infrared frequencies). It’s a stainless steel box with a black cone-shaped indentation that absorbed heat. Energy transferred as heat to fluid inside. Changes of temperature of fluid are measured, from which caloric exchange can be determined. (Used up until the 1950s.)
  • Jacque_Kymograph_Timer

    Jaque Kymograph Timer

    Device thought to have been brought to Harvard University by physician/physiologist Henry P. Bowditch who was the dean of the Harvard Medical School from 1883 to 1893. (Donated by John R. Pappenheimer, Harvard Medical School.)
  • Pendulum_Timer

    Pendulum Timer

    The instrument was probably brought to the Duke University Zoology Department in 1926 by F.G. Hall. (Donated by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Duke University)
  • Ludwig_Stromur_Valve

    Ludwig Stromur Valve

    This device was used to measure blood flow circa 1900. (Donated by John R. Pappenheimer, Harvard Medical School)