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Blood and respiration.

  • Barcroft, Joseph, Sir, 1872-1947.
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About this work


Sir Joseph Barcroft (1872-1947) is famous for his research into the effect that altitude has on blood. In the early part of the century he travelled to the mountains of Peru and Tenerife where he studied this subject in depth, providing the basis for his textbook, The Respiratory Function of the Blood (1914). This film shows his classic experiment to demonstrate the Dissociation Curve of the Haemoglobin Oxygen System. The film was discovered in the 1970s, though was made in the 1930s. The original film is silent, but a commentary by Joseph Barcroft's son, Henry, has been added to interpret the experiments that are shown.


United Kingdom : Wellcome Trust, 1978.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (13.04 min.) : sound, color



Copyright note

Wellcome Trust; 2009

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Made by Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham. Original film made by Sir Joseph Barcroft, Prof. Henry Barcroft and Dr. Frank Norrington in the mid-1930s. 1978 film commentary by Edwin Potter and Henry Barcroft.


Segment 1 Narrator Edwin Potter introduces the work of Joseph Barcroft on the study of blood-oxygen equilibrium. Barcroft had gone on expedition to places such as Peru and Tenerife to investigate the effect of high altitude on the blood. A film of him demonstrating his equipment had been found in Cambridge, and is shown next. Joseph Barcroft's son, Henry, provides an added commentary to interpret the actions of his father in the laboratory. The film begins with Joseph demonstrating the various pieces of kit and scientific equipment he took on his trips. Henry describes the equipment being demonstrated. Joseph shows how the equipment is used in experiments. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:06:21:00 Length: 00:06:21:00
Segment 2 The experiment is continued. An experiment to show the effect of temperature on oxygen haemoglobin equilibrium is demonstrated. Joseph is seen using the results of his experiment to plot a graph. Time start: 00:06:21:00 Time end: 00:13:04:13 Length: 00:06:43:13



  • English

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