Vaginal speculum

Made:
1801-1850 in France

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Vaginal speculum, bath, boxwood and ebony, possibly French, first half 19th century

Made of boxwood and ebony, this vaginal speculum uses a syringe mechanism to introduce ointments into the uterine cavity. A British pamphlet of 1857 advised husbands that examination with a vaginal speculum ‘plunges its wretched victim…down into the lowest deep infamy and degradation’. Specula examinations caused controversy over male doctors performing such an intimate examination on women. However, the speculum was routine in gynaecological examination by the end of the 1800s.

Details

Category:
Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
A647134
Materials:
boxwood and ebony
type:
vaginal speculum
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • speculum
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust