Thomas Jefferson UniversityScott Memorial Library

Medical Instruments in the Archives: What are these?

Welcome to the fourth week of Medical Instrument Monday from the Archives and Special Collections Twitter page!

This week’s question: What are these items and how were they used?

week 4 image

Answer: This case contains an early auriscope (also known as an otoscope) and four attachable speculums. In 1857 New Jersey physician H. Henry Clark designed one of the first otoscopes in the United States and manufactured it with George Tiemann of New York. Early models were made of brass, then steel. Like this example, each auriscope generally had several different speculum sizes that attached to the auriscope. In use, the auriscope worked on a periscope principle where light was concentrated by a funnel before being reflected by a mirror, thus allowing a health care provider to see into the ear.

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