James McIntyre had an unstoppable urge to write poems on
In addition to the practice of medicine evolving over time, the devices used to treat medical conditions have changed as technology has improved and practitioners have learned more about the human body and how the disease process works. This leaves a strange and bizarre trail of medical devices that we don’t really use any more, and they are both fascinating and horrible at the same time.
This is definitely as bad as it sounds — and looks. The jugum penis was used in Victorian Britain to discourage men from masturbation. If you get an erection while wearing one, well, your penis is in trouble.
Named after a unit of measurement for x-ray exposure, the Roentgen steed was used to delight and comfort children who needed a chest x-ray.
While this device has been modernized and is still in use today, it looks completely creepy in its historical context. An electroretinogram device measures the electrical responses of various types of retinal cells.
Vintage flu mask
Today, you will find disposable flu masks at your doctor’s office, but there were even more interesting methods of trying to avoid influenza during the flu epidemic that struck after the first World War.
Finsen hospital lamps
Finsen hospital lamps used concentrated light rays to treat a variety of ailments such as lupus. The creator of the technology, Niels Finsen, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.
Rotating cobalt machine
This machine was designed to rotate around a patient’s body, targeting cancerous growths.
If you didn’t have any real leeches, you could find some bloodletting relief with the aid of an artificial leech — this device cut you, and then by pulling upwards, you would create a vacuum to suck it all up.
This one fell out of favor because it sometimes caused the cervix to tear, but it was used to manually dilate (and measure) a woman’s cervix while she was in labor.