Portal lamp for blood group determination

A better design to study blood reactions

Technical file

Innovation leader: Josep Antoni Grífols i Lucas, Víctor Grífols i Lucas

Year: 1950

Period: Postwar period (1940-1959)

Type of innovation: Instrument

Scope: Clinical analysis

Patent: No

Geographical reach: National

Economic impact:  2-Medium

Level of innovation:  2-Evolutionary

Interdisciplinary connections: -

Related innovations: Rhesus factor correspondence course

There are different methods to determine blood groups and the Rh factor, and one of the most popular during the first half of the twentieth century was the portal method, still used today.

It's a straightforward technique. A sample of the red blood cells to be analyzed is mixed on a slide with the specific antisera of each group, to observe whether or not there is agglutination and, therefore, whether the blood belongs to one or another type.

The sample, however, had to be mixed well with the antisera and made at a temperature of approximately 40 degrees centigrade, which was achieved using the heat provided by a lamp.


A lamp with added innovations

In 1950, Victor Grífols i Lucas developed a lamp specifically designed for the job. Its tilting curved design allowed for samples to be shaken and mixed more easily, making the device more convenient to use. Slides could be placed on top of the lamp, which heated them to the required temperature. In addition, the lamp's opal glass allowed for a better observation of the agglutination reactions.

Víctor Grífols developed different models of the instrument over several years, incorporating a thermostat to control the working temperature more accurately into a later design. Other versions had allowed the user to vary the intensity of light via a rheostat, which allowed them to adjust the temperature of the sample.



Combining different features for an altogether better investigative tool



  • Grífols-Lucas, J.A. (1953). Curso práctico de Rh por correspondencia. Barcelona: Laboratorios Grífols.
  • Gri-Cel, S.A. (ca. 1960). Aparatos científicos. Folleto comercial de los productos de GRI-CEL, S.A.
  • Race, R.R., & Sanger, R. (1975). Blood Groups in Man. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publishers.
  • Issit, P.D. (1985). Applied Blood Group Serology. Florida: Montgomery Scientific Publications.
  • Grífols i Lucas, V. (2009). Amb un suro i un cordill. Vivències d'un empresari de postguerra. Barcelona: Grífols Group, S.A.
  • Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols . Barcelona: Grupo Grifols S.A.