Digital Commonwealth

Natograph Poster

Item Information

Natograph Poster
This poster was created by the Springfield College Department of Physiology and features their experiments with the natograph, a machine invented by Peter V. Karpovich. The photograph on the left shows the natograph and the one on the right shows the machine in use in Judd Gymnasium. Between the two photographs are tracings reproduced from the natograph detailing five different swimming strokes.
Springfield College Archives and Special Collections
Collection (local):
College Archives Digital Collections
Peter V. Karpovich Papers
Springfield College
Springfield College--Alumni and alumnae
Springfield College--Faculty
Springfield College--Departments
Springfield College--Buildings
Judd Gymnasia
McCurdy Natatorium
Karpovich, Peter V.
Plummer, Clayton R.
Springfield (Mass.)
Swimming pools
MassachusettsHampden (county)Springfield
Link to Item:
Terms of Use:
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law.
Contact host institution for more information.
Springfield College
The natograph tested the efficiency of swimming strokes by measuring the progression of a swimmer every one fifth of a second. It consisted of a revolving drum around which a line was fastened and attached to the swimmer’s waist (as seen in the framed diagram) or to a floating tripod over the swimmer, and a revolving contact switch to mark time intervals on a kymograph (a rotating drum holding paper on which a stylus traces a continuous record). As the line was pulled by the swimmer it revolved the drum. Peter V. Karpovich (1896-1975) was born in Russia and trained as a medical doctor at the State Military Academy of Medicine in Petrograd (St. Petersburg), Russia in 1919. Under increasing political and professional turmoil, he fled to Latvia in 1922. In Latvia, Karpovich worked at the Riga YMCA. In 1925, he traveled to the United States to research at Springfield College. While there, he enrolled as a special advanced student and earned a master’s degree in physical education. In 1927, while completing his studies, he became a professor of physiology at the college. In the late 1940s, he met and married his second wife, Josephine Rathbone, an acclaimed scholar of physical education and relaxation. From 1961 to 1969, he served as the director of the physiology research laboratory at Springfield College, where he published several seminal books. Karpovich was a founding member of the American College of Sports Medicine and a consultant to many government, private and educational organizations. He remains an internationally recognized pioneer in physical education.
Edges have tears and the left photograph is not attached; Originally digitized in 2009 for an exhibit. That digital copy did not represent the whole document. This is the second time this document has been digitized;