25+ Spine-Tingling Antique Medical Devices

As time progresses, transformations touch every aspect of our world. From technology and infrastructure to travel and undoubtedly medicine. Reflecting on what once passed as groundbreaking and cutting-edge treatment is quite astonishing. The contrast with today’s norms makes many of those approaches appear more like medieval instruments of suffering than healing methods.

Prepare to embark on a journey that will make your thoughts wander and your emotions alternate between amazement and incredulity. Together, we’ll delve into a compilation of unsettling historical medical rituals, devices, and images that offer a glimpse into the past practices of medicine.

Lewis Sayre’s scoliosis treatment

Masks worn by doctors during the Plague. The beaks held scented substances to mask the scent of death and dying.

Children in an iron lung before the advent of the polio vaccination. Many children lived for months in these machines, though not all survived. c. 1937

Corset damage to a ribcage. 19th century London

Dr. Kilmer’s Female Remedy

Tanning babies at the Chicago Orphan Asylum, 1925, to offset winter rickets

Woman with an artificial leg, too embarrassed to show her face c. 1890-1900

Wooden prosthetic hand, c. 1800

Blood transfusion bottle, England 1978

Dr. Clark’s Spinal Apparatus advertisement, 1878

Neurological exam with electrical device, c. 1884

Antique prosthetic leg

“Walter Reed physiotherapy store” 1920’s

US Civil War surgeon’s kit

Boy in rolling “invalid cart” c. 1915

Obstetric phantom, Italy 1700-1800. Tool to teach medical students and midwives about childbirth

Radioactive yummies

Claude Becks early defibulator

Antique birthing chair used until the 1800s

Knives for surgery, China, 1801-1920.

Anatomical Model. Doctors were not allowed to touch the women’s bodies, so they would point to describe pain locations

Radiology nurse technician, WWI France 1918

1855-1860. One of first surgical procedures using ether as an anesthetic

Rush Medical College lecture auditorium, 1900, Chicago

Leonid Rogozov, the only surgeon on an Antarctic expedition, performing surgery on himself after suffering from appendicitis. April 30, 1961

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