Centuries gone by have bequeathed us an array of medical instruments, which served purposes ranging from diagnosis to treatment and even surgical interventions. At a cursory glance, it can be rather challenging to fathom their intended functions. Doctors of those eras, driven by their experience and resourcefulness, crafted an assortment of devices aimed at preserving the lives and well-being of individuals. Admittedly, some of these contraptions were not always effective and, at times, even proved detrimental. Nevertheless, it was these somewhat unsettling instruments that played a pivotal role in propelling the field of medicine towards significant advancements, ultimately affording humanity the gift of extended and improved life.
We cordially invite you to delve into the intriguing realm of medical instruments from yesteryears, all the while expressing gratitude to the stars that you will never have to avail the services of physicians from those bygone times.
Dental syringe, 1905
This syringe was used to administer painkillers.
Inro boxes used during the Edo period to transport medicine, 1603-1867
Medieval first aid kit containing 126 medicine bottles, 1560s
Pneumothorax apparatus for injecting gas into the chest cavity in order to collapse the lung, 1901-1930
It was a widely used device for the treatment of tuberculosis before the discovery of effective antibiotics.
Ear tube for audiometry
A rare device designed to test bone conduction.
Brass syringe with case, 1601-1630
Metal piston enema with container and interchangeable tips, 19th-century
Bloodletting Lancet, 1850
Mallam Scarifier, 1874
The instrument was used for vaccination against smallpox.
Folding birthing chair, 1701-1830
The image of Christ is painted on the back of a chair above the place where the woman’s head should have been.
Bullet extractor, 1500
Trephination tool, 1701-1800
Nose correction device
European amputation saw, 1575
Carbolic steam atomizer
The device was used to disinfect tissues during surgery.
Galvanic apparatus, 1865
A medical electrostatic machine that was used to treat a wide variety of ailments.
The instrument has been used to assess a person’s muscle strength and determine the clinical progression of neuromuscular weakness.
Curved Trocar, 1880
This is a surgical instrument with a pointed end that was used to penetrate the body cavities of the human body while maintaining their tightness. Today, modern trocars are used in medicine.