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The Helmholtz CurvesTracing Lost Time$
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Henning Schmidgen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261949

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261949.001.0001

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The Return of the Line

The Return of the Line

(p.147) Seven The Return of the Line
The Helmholtz Curves

Henning Schmidgen

Fordham University Press

This chapter reconstructs in detail Helmholtz’s use of the graphic method. With the assistance of instrument maker Egbert Rekoss Helmholtz devised a muscle writing device, the so-called myograph, in 1851. A rotating glass cylinder covered with soot served to register movements of frog muscles in curve-like drawings. By changing the position of the electrode on the nerve that triggered the contraction of the frog muscle, Helmholtz was able to record the time that was lost during the propagation of the nerve impulse. In the following years, this technology was taken up by other physiologists and became a standard element of introductory courses in physiology.

Keywords:   Hermann von Helmholtz, Graphic Method, Helmholtz’s Myograph, Egbert Rekoss

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