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18th Century Medical and Scientific

Everything to do with medicine, apothecary-physicians, dental, medical and scientific research and instrumentation.

English domestic medicine chest, Mahogany, mid 18thCentury, 'spice cupboard' style on a custom built Regency stand. Medicine chest has applied silver fittings, and 84 drawers with ebonised lining and silver ring pulls. The armourial bears the arms of Henry Dawkins of Over Norton Oxfordshire and Standlynch Park Wiltshire and Lady Juliana Colyear who married in 1759. It has been suggested the chest may have been a wedding gift. The Domestic Medicine Chest Collection of Dr Anne M. Young. Christies

Christie's Large Image

Peter the Great's (1672-1725) travelling medicine chest, Augsburg, Tobias Lenghardt and Hans Georg I Brenner, 1613–15, Wood, copper, steel, silver, glass, silk, velvet, braid; oil paint on copper, ebony veneer, gilding. 39.5 x 41 x 32.5 cm © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Trepanning drill, Western Europe, 1690-1720 Brass, steel, wood; gilding. 25 x 6.5 x 5 cm © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Bullet extractor, Western Europe, 1690-1720 Steel, brass. L 21 cm © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

3 - In 1791 George Pearson, a respected doctor and chemist of the time, determined that James's Fever powder was made of a mix of antimony and calcium phosphate. Because antimony is a toxic substance, the powder was deemed a contributing factor to the death of author Oliver Goldsmith in 1774. 4- In addition to single-use packets, the medicine was also one of the first to be distributed in a multidose bottle. © Wellcome Library, London

Dr. James Fever Powder, circa 1746 | The Scientist Magazine®

Dr. James’s fever powder, patented by English physician Robert James, claimed to cure fevers and various other maladies, from gout and scurvy to distemper in cattle. Introduced in 1746, 1 - To safeguard his secret formula for the fever powder, James submitted a fake patent application that didn’t reveal the proper way the powder was created and formulated. 2 - When James died in 1776, his manufacturing and marketing partner John Newbery inherited the patent and continued to sell the powder.

Dr. James Fever Powder, circa 1746 | The Scientist Magazine®

Cyanometer—18thC instrument designed to measure the blueness of the sky invented in 1789 by Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who used the circular array of 53 shaded sections in experiments above the skies over Geneva, Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The Cyanometer helped lead to a successful conclusion that the blueness of the sky is a measure of transparency caused by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.

Mud baths. Women taking mud baths in the 18th century, watched by James Graham (died 1794), a Scottish medical fraudster. Bathing in mineral water and mud was prescribed for many types of ailments, though the rich and famous also used bathing houses as social centres. Graham's "earth- bathing" was one of a number of medical frauds that he carried out in London. He claimed that bathers could prolong their physical beauty by bathing at his establishment. Graham died insane in Scotland.

William Hunter (1718–1783) 1772, by Johann Zoffany. Scottish-born anatomist, surgeon and midwife became ‘perhaps the best teacher of anatomy that ever lived’. Hunter ran a surgical and midwifery practice in London, investigating the female reproductive system by dissecting animals. He lectured on surgery and anatomy, which became his chief interest. Here Hunter lectures on stage, watched by members of the Academy including Sir Joshua Reynolds (identifiable by his ear-trumpet).

BBC - Your Paintings - William Hunter (1718–1783)

Dr Oliver and Mr Peirce, the First Physician and Surgeon Examining Patients Afflicted with Paralysis, Rheumatism and Leprosy by William Hoare, 1761

John Hunter (1728–1793), Surgeon and Anatomist by Joshua Reynolds (after)

Ancient Chemist shop, Venice via Ca’ Mocenigo: 18th century Interiors, Costumes and the History of Perfume

Porcelain Bleeding bowl, England, 1671-1730.

Bleeding bowl, England, 1671-1730

Nicolas Andry de Bois-Regard (1658–1742) established a solid link between the muscular-skeletal apparatus and physical exercise in his famous text "L'Orthopédie ou L'art De prévenir et de corriger Dans les enfants, Les difformités du corps." [Orthopedics or the art of preventing and correcting deformities of the body in children] 1741. The French physician coined the term "Orthopedie" (orthopaedic/orthopedic).

L'orthopédie, première édition de 1741 par Nicolas Andry

"The higher the heels, the greater will be the distortion [to the foot]...and the higher the heel and the smaller the sole, the greater becomes the risk of falls and sprains."—Professor Petrus Camper (1722-1789) Wrote one of the most remarkable books in orthopedic literature, "On the Best Form of Shoe". Translated immediately and repeatedly into several European languages and considered worthy of reprint as late as 1861. Click image (taken from Camper's book) to see distortion at work.

"The Apothecary" by Frans Van Mieris (1689–1763) (II), (1714), from The Rijksmuseum

The Apothecary by Frans Van Mieris(II) 1714

Apothecary jar, Italy, 1730-1750 This apothecary jar is illustrated with scenes of a circumcision and three devils’ heads. Entwined snakes form the handles. The devil’s head at the base appears to be a dispensing hole for the contents of this large jar.

Pair of apothecary storage jars, Naples, Italy, 1756. These earthenware jars are illustrated with scenes from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Modern replica of an 18th century fracture box, Colonial Williamsburg. In the 18th century, fractured limbs were set by either a surgeon or a bone-setter, after which they were immobilized with a splint and bandages. In the case of a broken leg where the patient required bed rest, a fracture box like this one would elevate and support the limb.

Wooden anatomical figure with removable parts and container, German, c.1700. Museum No A118272 Wellcome Images

Wellcome Images