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Picture of the Month (November 2010)
Dedicated User Captions:
1. The experimentalization of Mundgeruch
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3. for a smoke-free future: the perpetual smoking machine

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Morelli Combination Mouth- and Nosepiece

In the early 20c. nutrition physiologists determined that they could calculate metabolism rates fairly accurately from respiration analysis alone. This not only meant that elaborate experiments in the respiration calorimeter were no longer necessary. Since respiration apparatus could be made light enough to be carried on one’s back, this meant that physiologists could study metabolism and energy requirements in a wide variety of situations, such as harvesting wheat, shovelling coal or climbing mountains (Felsch 2002).

One of the most important parts of the portable apparatus was the breathing mask. Not only did it have to be airtight so that all exhaled carbon dioxide could be captured. It also had to allow the experimental subject to inhale and exhale without extra exertion. Physiologists found that breathing through a mouthpiece required training. This raised the question of whether trained breathing was ever normal breathing, and whether the results obtained through such mouthpiece experiments were representative.

In their attempts to make mouthpiece breathing as airtight and non-intrusive as possible, physiologists developed a great variety of mask, mouth and nosepiece variations for their apparatus and looked to the makers of diving equipment for ideas, advise and... noseclips.

Related Items:
see also: Philipp Felsch: Keeping Track. On Alpine Metrology, 2002

Picture Source:
Benedict, Francis Gano. 1907-1933. Reports of Visits to Foreign Laboratories, vol. 3 (1913-16) [Illustrated Typoscript in 7 volumes] Reproduced with the kind permission of Dr. Cecil E. Leith. (Harvard University Archives - Countway Library of Medicine: GA 7, Series II, Boxes 6-7)

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