Specimen bottle for blood for a test for syphilis, England, 1930-1950

1930-1950 in England

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Specimen bottle, Wassermann outfit, supplied by Kent County Council, English, 1930-1950. Full view, bottle alondside
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Specimen bottle, Wassermann outfit in square wooden tube, supplied by Kent County Council, English, 1930-1950

This glass bottle was used to take a blood sample and test for syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection. August von Wassermann (1866-1925), a German physician and bacteriologist, developed this diagnostic blood test in 1906. Shortly afterwards Paul Ehrlich and his team developed a cure for syphilis known as Salvarsan, the so-called ‘magic bullet’. This required, however, a long period of treatment and was later replaced by the use of antibiotics such as penicillin.


Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
bottle, glass, case, wood, lid, metal and stopper, rubber
test tube
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • vessel

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