South Australian Medical Heritage Society IncWebsite for the Virtual Museum
Galleries of the Virtual Museum
These medical heritage items have been donated to an Adelaide organisation and collected for possible future exhibits. They form a unique collection of items, some not represented in other medical museums.
An artificial pneumothorax machine used in the past to treat tuberculosis. An intrathoracic pressure gauge is on the left. The water levels are used to regulate the volume of air to be instilled into the pleural cavity. The regulator tap (bilingual) is on the right.
After chloroform, ether and ethyl chloride became popular anaesthetic
agents. The second from left is an ether dripper and a ethyl chloride
spray is next to it. The wire masks at the periphery are covered with
muslin, applied over the nose and mouth and soaked with the
Likely finger splints donated by Sir Henry Simpson Newland. The oval
gaps were fashioned to accommodate the knuckles.
An “unknown” apparatus: the mirror in the middle could have been
used to direct a beam of light at a microscope or an ent concave
mirror. It is likely that a light globe was placed above the top of the
A neuro surgical kit, used to make burr holes to relieve intracranial
pressure due to haemorrhage into the confines of the skull.
Emeritus Professor Donald Simpson has kindly commented about the likely origin of these instruments:
Before the arrival of automated coulter counters to print out the
various blood parameters, surgeons and physicians used their own kits.
Left is a haemoglobinometer. It measures the blood haemoglobin.
A De Vilbiss insufflator, usually used to anaesthetise the oro-pharynx
A simple torch using batteries coupled with a magnifying glass, usually
used to view skin lesions.
A similar device used to visualise the vocal cords or nasopharynx.
A mechanical lance used to perforate the skin to obtain a blood
Foot splint, precise function unknown, possibly used to immobilise the
toes after surgery.
Paul’s tube used to decompress bowel after surgery. Named after a British surgeon F. T. Paul (1851-1912). Unfortunately shadows distort the picture.