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Vaginal Speculum

Vaginal Speculum Logo

The vaginal speculum was introduced to gynecology in 1801  by Joseph Claude Recamier.  His fist vaginal speculum was a slender tin tube five inches long he used to introduce treatment for cervical ulcers.  Later he widened this tin conical  tube to inspect the cervix.  Some doctors considered the speculum essential for an adequate pelvic examination, while others regarded it as unnecessary and objectionable. " The use of the speculum was, for respectable women, a serious sacrifice of their delicacy." The vaginal speculum underwent numerous modifications since Recamier's time.
The first generation vaginal speculum was a widened conical tube similar to the Ferguson silver speculum as shown on the left photos.
Circa:  Mid 1800

                                                                           Protheroe-Smith's Speculum
Circa 1840
Hand engraved gynecologic speculum, Dr. Protheroe Smith's /Speculum Uteri/ Ferguson Maker. Dr Protheroe Smith was a prominent London Obstetrician and the founder of the Hospital for Diseases of Women, Soho Square, 1842.  He is also the first physician to use chloroform in childbirth in England.  The instrument is of exhibition quality and may have been exhibited in the London Exhbition of  1866.  See Ricci pg 527-528.

Speculum Metricis. An ancient instrument similar to those found at Pompeii, 1st Century BCE. See James V. Ricci, M.D.  illustrations page 38, and page 78. " The Development Gynecological Surgery and Instruments," 1990 Norman Publishing, San Francisco.  Circa 16th Century.
A three pronged speculum came back into use in the 16th  and 17th Century on the continental Europe. It was used to dilate the vagina to visualize the cervix.  It may have been utililized to forcibly dilate the cervix to hasten labor. Unplated steel, 17 x 23 cm ( 7 1/2''x 9'') The prongs open 4cm (1 3/4'') at its greatest diameter at the tip.

Weis speculum 1
Weis speculum 2
John Weis Speculum
Circa 1831
Checkered ivory handle with screw mechanism that opens and closes the blades.  Three unplated steel blades with ebony obturator.

John Weis Speculum.
Circa 1831
Unplated steel with ebony handle.

                                      The First Generation Vaginal Speculum
Ferguson Mirror Vaginal Speculum
Circa 1850's
 Mirror vaginal speculum introduced by William Ferguson.   A tubular glass with mirrored interior and outside black coating: 14 cm. ( 5 1/2 ").  E.  Bennion p134.

Ashton's Fenestrated Speculum
Circa: 1850's
A tubular mirrored speculum with opening along one side and a closed end. 10 1/2 cm  (4 1/4") Tiemann p431  Fig 3175.

Ferguson Vaginal Speculum

A cylindrical vaginal speculum.  Circa 1850s. Bakelite outer, biege inner lining. 13 cm (5 1/4")

Ferguson Wood Vaginal Speculum
c 1850s
Short cylindrical wood Ferguson vaginal speculum.  10 cm (4")
Long wood Ferguson speculum.  14 cm.

Pewter speculum
 Metal handle, ebony obturator.  20.5 cm (8 1/4") in length.
Boxwood Vaginal Speculum
With brass handle, complete with obturator that has a metal shaft; a conic shaped boxwood tip and a knob handle.  19 cm (7 1/2")

Charriere Trivalve Speculum
c 1850
A three bladed vaginal speculum with an ebony obturator, introduced in 1837.  The instrument features a unique hinged-tube that is inserted as an almond-shaped oval and expands to a full circle by pressing the two finger grips together.  Made of unplated German silver with nickel-zinc alloy, a material used rarely for medical instrument.

Segala Quadvalve Speculum
Circa Mid 1800's
Four bladed vaginal speculum with ebony obturator and metal shaft.  Unplated steel.  19 cm (7 1/2") in length.  Introduced by Paul Segala in the 1830s.

                                                                             Ivory Handled Four Bladed Speculum

                                                                                                  Ivory Handled, Two Bladed Speculum

Tubular Shaped Two Bladed Speculum


Thomas Sims Speculum 1 Thomas Sims spec 2
Thomas- Sims Speculum
Circa 1880
Ebony handle, unplated steel blades

Guttmann spec
Guttman Speculum

Philippe Ricord Vaginal Speculum
c 1834
     Two bladed unplated steel speculum expanded at both ends around a fixed center.  Has checkered ebony handles.  25.5 cm (10")

Ricord folding1a

Ricord folding 1b
                                                         Ricord Folding Speculum

Four Bladed
Speculum with ebony
handle.  27 cm (10 3/4")
c Mid 1800s

4 bladed spec

   Four Bladed Silver Plated Speculum

Tri-valve Speculum
with crosscheckered 
ebony handles by A.L. Hernstein, N.Y.
c. 1870's

Three bladed vaginal speculum.
  A complicated action, and a locking grip. Plated steel, marked I. Stevens & Sons / London, Circa 1870s. 20 cm (7 3/4") in length, blades open to 6 cm (2 1/4") wide.

Circa 1895-1930
All metal bivalve speculum

All Metal Trivalve Speculum
Circa Early 1900s

Gift from Dr. Eduardo Santiago

Mueller Speculum

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All statements in this web page regarding date, age, and origin are statements of opinion.  All photos and materials on this web page are protected by copyright laws.  Please obtain direct  permission fromF.C. Gapultos, use any and all materials on this site, including photographs and drawings.

 Miscellaneous Medical Antiques Logo
Got Milk?
Circa: 1880
S. Maw's self suctioning breast pump in original box.  Handblown glass pump, India rubber host and handblown glass mouthpiece. 

Clinical Thermometer
Circa 1860

     Clinical thermometer was introduced in the mid 19th Century.  This underarm bent thermometer is clumsy, heavy, and inaccurate.  Its scale etched on an ivory could read only if in place.  If removed before recording, the mercury column drops in the process.  It was superior to the hand on the forehead  method .  The thermometer is 17.5  x  5  cm.  Glass and ivory in brown leather case.

 Baunscheidt's Lebenswecker
Circa 1880

      Lebenswecker, a German word for life awakener.   A counter irritant device.  The sharp needles in the tip of the instrument were dipped in a mixture of menthol, camphor, turpentine, and vegetable oil.  The head of the device was placed on the area of ailment.  The toggle was drawn back to cock the spring then released driving the needles into the patient's skin (ouch!), and presumably curing numerous illnesses.  Seemed to work, most patient never came back for a second treatment!  The hollow ebony tube contained a handle with coiled spring attached.  Measures 27 x 3 cm.

All statements in this web page regarding date, age, and origin are statements of opinion.  All photos and materials on this web page are protected by copyright laws.  Please obtain direct  permission fromF.C. Gapultos, use any and all materials on this site, including photographs and drawings.