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ExhibitionBoundary Crossing / 1818

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  • Funnel-like instrument connects left arm of woman lying in bed to right arm of man standing nearby.
    Blundell’s Gravitator from The Lancet, 1829

    Blundell’s Gravitator from The Lancet, June 13, 1829

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    The medical journal The Lancet recorded the dramatic success of blood transfusion. Reporting on a woman who received her husband’s blood, the journal noted, ”Life seemed to be immediately reanimated as by an electric spark.”

  • Labeled blueprint of funnel-shaped transfusion instrument.
    Cross section of Blundell’s Gravitator, 1824

    Cross section of Blundell’s Gravitator from Researches Physiological and Pathological, 1824

    Author: James Blundell (1790–1878)
    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    James Blundell developed a copper cup with a metal handle to collect blood and funnel it from the donor to the recipient. After a woman received a few ounces of her husband’s blood, the medical journal, The Lancet, noted in 1834, “Life seemed to be immediately reanimated as by an electric spark.”

  • Labeled blueprint of various components of transfusion instrument, including part resembling a funnel.
    Diagram of Blundell’s Gravitator from The Lancet, 1829

    Diagram of Blundell’s Gravitator from The Lancet, June 13, 1829

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    The “gravitator” could be used to transfer blood in a “regulated stream” from one individual to another. James Blundell, who believed that blood had the power to restore life itself, invented the device.