Accoucheur's Antique
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Vaginal Speculum

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Ovariotomy tro
ovarian trochar illus 1a
  Ovariotomy Trocar
Circa 1865
     Ovarian cyst were tapped by this trocar to drain the fluid from it thereby reducing the size of the tumor. Ref: Riccis' Development of Gyn Surg Inst 1990

Vaginal Syringe
Circa 1860's
          A rare pewter vaginal syringe with anthropomorphic nozzle.  The instrument is illustrated in Henry Smith, M.D.,  The Principles and Practice of Surgery, 1863, Vol. II, pl. LVIII, fig. 20.  The caption reads:  Chase's vaginal syringe.  Shield to close the vulva and assist in retaining the injection. 20 cm in length.  Shield 7 cm.

oulds           oulds t
Two winged knives to widen cervical cannal to accomodate a larger instrument to pass through the cervix into the uterine cavity such as the eccraseur to remove endometrial polyp.

French vag douche 1

French vag douche 2
                                      19th Century French Clyster / Vaginal Douche Set
A rare clyster pipe from France.  Complete with the original metal box.  The irrigant is placed in the metal box. The vaginal douche syringe is screwed to the box .  The tip is made out of ebony and ivory.                                        

Vaginal Douche Set

Vaginal Douche
Pre 1900 indications for vaginal douche:
1.  Pregnant patient with profuse vaginal discharge due to gonorrheal infection
2.  Prophylactic vaginal douche if the patient is subjected to repeated examination during labor
3.  After first week post-partum presence of foul smelling lochia

Enema Set
Thomas Denman in 1795 recommended enema to stimulate the uterus for treatment of prolonged labor.  Enemas of linseed or of flour and water were used during pregnancy.

Willett's tip

Willett's 1a
 Willett's Placenta Previa Forceps
In 1925, Willett devised a toothed forceps to manage placenta previa.  The placenta was perforated through the vagina and this forceps was attached to the fetal scalp to create compression to the placenta.  Two pounds of weight was applied to the clamp over a pulley.  Ref: De Lee- Greenhill Obstetrics 9th edition  1947.

Willett's 1b
                                                      Also called the Willet's Scalp Forceps.
Another way for helping get a dead baby out was to clamp the scalp of the baby and apply traction with a two pound weight hung over the end of the mother's bed as illustrated above.  Often times the scalp of the baby tore off from the weight.  It was also associated with increased incidence of maternal infection.   Ref: From Witchcraft to Wisdom. Geoffrey Chamberlain. RCOG Press, 2007.

Got Milk?
Circa: 1880
S. Maw's self suctioning breast pump in original box.  Handblown glass pump, India rubber host and handblown glass mouthpiece.
The Forerunner of Modern Day IUDs
Intrauterine Wishbones & Stem Plugs

  These birth control devices were sold and advertised as pessaries.  They were place in the cervix with the stem inside the uterine cavity. Visit Fact Files on this web.

pes2 pes1
                                                                   Boxed Pessary
A cushion shape disk pessary by Ideal.  The wishbone pessary is marked 14K solid gold and it comes with its original box and sliding cover.

IUD's Sold as Pessaries

Medical instruments from the end of the 19th century through early 1900's, include descriptions of "pessaries" that resemble modern IUD (Intrauterine device).  The existence of Comstock laws that prohibit the use of the mails for contraceptive devices may have been the reason for the false advertisement. See also Fact Files on this web.

Intra-Uterine Stem
     The long stem was inserted into the uterine cavity to correct the malpositioned uterus. These devices were precursors of the present day IUD (Intra-Uterine Device).
Aluminum Intra-Uterine Stem 
3 cm height, 2 cm base
c 1880s
Plated Steel Intra-Uterine Stem
Spring stem 7 cm length, 2cm base.
c Early 1900s

Lee's memb per1a
Lee's memb perf 1b

Lee's memb per 1c Lee's Membrane Perforator
19 Century amniotomy instrument with a crosshatched ebony and carved ivory handle. Pressure on the thumb piece pushes a spring loaded sharp pointed trochar.

Intra-Uterine Repositors
     Retrodisplaced uterus was blamed for several female problems.  Before the advent of surgery in mid 1800s attempts were made to correct the  malady by mechanical means.  From 1830s thru the late 1800s, two devices were utilized to restore uterine position.  Because of the resulting severe infection, the instruments were seldom used.
Emmet's Uterine Repositor
c 1890
     A special instrument employing a short mobile uterine rod used to align a malpositioned uterus.  Nickel plated metal with checkered ebony handle.  31 cm. Fig 3427, Tiemann.

Aveling's repostor1a
Avel;ing's repositor 1b
Aveling's Repositor
19 Century gynecologic device placed in the vagina with the red end on the inverted uterus, the other end was tied with straps to keep it in place and thus correct the chronic  uterine invertion.
Sponge Tents
Circa 1870
      Sponge tents were used as a uterine cervical dilators to relieve severe menstrual cramping in the late 19th Century.  The sponge tents are slender cone-shaped piece of compressed material made up of porous skeleton of certain marine animal.  It expands gradually from fluid absorption while in the cervix.  Serious uterine infections often resulted from the treatment.

     A surgical procedure to divide the pubic bone to accomplish delivery of the fetus on difficult labor.  It was first performed by J.R. Sigault in 1777. (Sometimes called the Sigaultian Operation).   Reintroduced by Morisani of Naples in 1866, in France by Spinelli in 1891.  Introduced in America in 1892.
Symphysiotomy Knife
Circa Early 1900
Falcetta- a sickle shaped bistoury used to cut pubic bone joint , the procedure called pubiotomy or hebotomy

      Symphysiotomy Operation

       Too firm a union of the pubic bone was mistakenly regarded as a cause of difficult labor.  The surgical separation of the pubic bone called symphysiotomy was in fashion one time and in competition with Cesarean section in the mid 1800 through early 1900.  Although the United States abandoned the procedure because of the mutilation it did to the mother, European and South American accoucheurs continued to perform these horrible operation up to the mid 20th Century. 

Emmett's Needle Holder
c. 1880
Unplated steel with checkered ebony  handle.  Made by Katsch, Munich.

OB Leg Holders
Circa 1890
Short of assistance,  the accoucheur tied a bed sheet below the patient's knees and strapped  it around her shoulder to assume the delivery position often on a dining table as shown on the left photo.  The obstetrical strap shown on the right  was available commercially to midwives from 1890 thru the early 1900s.

Thomas scoop
Thomas Scoop
Circa 1870
Used to remove sessile uterine fibroids.  It has a serrated border and a ribbled ebony handle.  See also the same item on destructive OB instruments link for its other use. Signed W.F. Ford.

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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.

Midwifery Books Logo
By Dr. John Freind

First Edition. 
Latin translated in English (long s)

A book about menstruation.




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.