Wooden case for throat swab


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Swab, cotton wool on metal rod, in glass tube, in wooden case, supplied by Kent County Council, early 20th century, for
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden case for swab. Label printed with the following text: 'Kent County Council. Diphtheria Diagnosis Outfit. The content of the enclosed tube have been sterilised'. Supplied by Kent County Council, early 20th century, for diphtheria diagnosis

Diphtheria is a potentially deadly contagious infection which especially affects children. In 1883, German bacteriologist Edwin Klebs (1834–1913) discovered the bacterium which causes diphtheria. This was then isolated the following year by fellow researcher Friedrich Loeffler (1852–1915), which meant that the presence of bacteria could be tested for and used to diagnose infection.

This is the wooden case for a throat swab supplied by Kent County Council who would have supplied them to clinics and doctors’ surgeries to help monitor and check the spread of the disease. The case is pictured here alongside the swab and glass tube.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Related people


Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
metal (unknown) and wood (unidentified)
overall (open): 20 mm x 158 mm x 28 mm,
overall (closed): 20 mm x 149 mm x 20 mm,
throat swab
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • dressings
  • swab
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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