Excerpt from Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology, Vol. 1
As indicator I have used, not the mechanical, but the electrical response of a muscle recording on a photographic plate, moving at a known and equable rate, the movement imparted to the meniscus of the capillary electrometer the moment an electrical change occurs at a spot connected with this instrument. The fact that the electrical response in the organ, as well as its manifestation in the recording instrument, occurs without any delay as soon as the recording spot is reached, and that it is not necessary for the whole muscle to be implicated before a record can be obtained, obviates what seems to me to be the principal objection to Wundt's experiments. The electrical response has the further advantage over the mechanical response, for the measurement of brief time intervals between different events occurring in a muscle, that the effect not only begins without delay, but, when in existence, outlasts the stimulus (which, either directly or indirectly, produces it) by a so much shorter time. A second effect, therefore, occurring in the muscle only a few thousandths of a second after a first, would have quite a distinct manifestation when recorded by such an instrument as the capillary electrometer, whereas in the record of the contraction of the muscle two such effects would be merged into one. This being so, there should be no difficulty in recording on the same photographic plate, and measuring the time interval between, the two electrical effects produced at one and the same spot of the muscle in response to simultaneous excitation of efferent and afferent nerve respectively; nor is there any such difficulty, provided that the cord is sufficiently sensitive for an effectual response to be obtained from it at all when the stimulus applied to the afferent nerve is single and instan taneous, as for the purpose in hand it must be.
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