Rare Early 19th Century Physician’s Horn Stethoscope


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Rare Early 19th Century Physician’s Horn Stethoscope – The stethoscope was invented in France, in 1816, by Rene’ Laennec; this early form of physiological listening device was monaural. Laennec, as other early physicians, felt uncomfortable resting his ear directly upon a patient’s chest and had found that by simply rolling up some paper, into a tube, then placing it on a patient’s chest and listening at the opposite end, the patient’s heart sounds were significantly amplified. Laennec’s primitive device, which he called a “stethoscope”, calling its use “mediate auscultation”, was comparable to a period ear horn. During the course of the first half of the 19th century, in place of using simple, rolled up paper, a variety of wood and horn devices, initially mostly monaural, were introduced by other physicians for use as stethoscopes. In 1851, Irish physician Arthur Leared invented a binaural stethoscope, and in 1852, George Philip Cammann perfected the design of the stethoscope instrument (that used both ears) for commercial production, which has become the standard ever since.

This early stethoscope, constructed entirely of horn, dates to the first half of the 19th century, when most stethoscopes were of the monaural type. It is in exemplary condition and was wonderfully crafted. It measures as follows: L – 3.25” ; Diameter of ear horn end – 1”.