The curatorial team here at the Museum are the keepers to an immense amount of knowledge, covering a wide variety of special areas. If you have a question, chances are someone here can write you a novel on the subject.
But… I will let you in on a little secret. We don’t know everything about everything!
Which brings me to my mystery object for the week.
The above device was acquired by the Museum in 1987 and is labelled as an ‘Earoscope’, made in 1893. A few of us here have attempted to research it and have come up short. The stamp on it reads “Earoscope, Patent, WASH.AP.4.1893”, which has not helped me in any American, British, or Australian patent databases.
“Patrick writes… “The patient in the 1930s suffered a traumatic skull fracture and was admitted to our hospital with an ear-full of blood. He went home a week later and was given the earoscope presumably to suck any remaining discharge. I am intrigued about the little patent needle which moves up and down as the handle is turned. How does it all work? The top part is now firmly stuck on ? rusted.”
Which sheds some light, but is this really how it was used?
We cannot open our earoscope to see inside, but as you can see it has a clamp, a handle, and a rubber coated metal tube out the top.
Why would you have to clamp this device onto something?
Can you really use it to suck blood from your ear?
Has anyone ever seen one or used one?
Anyone want to have a guess at what else it was used for? bonus points if you come up with something imaginative and wacky!
Thanks to helpful reader Ben (see comments) we may have a lead on our mystery object! he found this advertisment in ‘The Advertiser’, wednesday 1 March 1911.
I hope they are talking about the same device! Maybe our earoscope made a sound when the handle was turned?
I’m off to follow up this new lead!