|Wrights original peak flow meters (circa 1950s)|
It was first introduced in the 1950s by London physician, Dr. Martin Wright, of the Clinical Research Center at Northwick Park Hospital. It was an instrument specifically designed to measure 'peak flow,' or the amount of air that can be forced out of a patient's lungs after a maximum inhalation.
The original Wright was a large, heavy, clock shaped device and was too expensive for the common person to have at home. It was generally used in hospitals to assess patients. It worked by the patient blowing air into the meter, and this air rotated a pointer on a dial against the resistance of a spring. The device gave the first accurate readings of a peak flow.
|Mini Wrights Peak Flow Meters (circa 1970s)|
This instrument was called a "Mini Wright," although ultimately it became known as the peak flow meter. The devices were ultimately manufactured by various companies, and now you can get an array of different types. The first ones were not disposable, although they were soon thereafter manufactured for single patient use only, and the separate cardboard mouthpieces are no longer needed
|Many peak flow meters available today|
Can you guess how many peak flow meter brands are on the market? I couldn't even fathom a guess, although I've had over 20 in my grasp at one point or another.
Further reading and another picture:
- Check out: Wrights Peak Flow Meter, The Virtual Museum Library, http://medicine.nus.edu.sg/anaesthesia/virtual_museum/airmed_spirometer.htm