19th Century Physicians

I have been doing light research today on 19th Century physicians’ offices. Most of the images and information I found were for Victorian American doctors’ offices, but I did stumble across some gems.

The coolest thing I found was a reference to an episode of Antiques Roadshow where a man brought in a salesman sample of an examination table from the 19th century. Salesman samples were extremely detailed as they were intended to show a physician the complete range of features of the examination table, so they had lots of small parts that moved. The appraiser shows the man how the table worked and which elements could be adjusted and how: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/201001A40.html

Salesman Sample Medical Examination Table from 1890, featured on Antiques Roadshow

Another good resource that I found was the Rose Melnick Medical Museum website. They have an article featuring replicas of dentist and doctors offices from 1895-1935. The dental office is from 1895 and the doctor’s office is from 1905, but it gives a good understanding of what the office would look like and what equipment it would contain.

1905 Doctor's Office, Rose Melnick Museum

While this is all useful for my Victorian novels, I went about my search hoping to find useful information related to the Regency period. I stumbled upon an article showing images from an Italian text on medicine. It features some very interesting illustrations on doing a “woman’s internal examination”: http://morbidanatomy.blogspot.com/2009/05/internal-medical-examination-of-woman.html

Here is one example:

You’ve got to wonder what was on this woman’s mind. Was she lying back and thinking of England? Or in this case, Italy?

While I did not exactly find what I was looking for, I did stumble across several fun items and I saw various images of more rudimentary examination tables from the late Victorian era. These images are courtesy of: Prices4Antiques.com. Click on each image for more information about the item.

Medical exam table circa 1875-1900, Indiana

Oak Examination Table, with cabinet drawers, circa 1875-1900. From North Carolina.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip down Medical Memory Lane. And if you know of any interesting resources for 19th century medical history, please share!


19th Century Physicians — 3 Comments

  1. Why is it the tables still look the same? Instruments of torture and discomfort? lol All that aside I love the Antique Roadshow. People come in with some of the most interesting stuff and stories.

  2. LOL, Sofia. I haven’t watched it in a long time, but I do love Antique Roadshow as well. It’s always so interesting to see what people bring in and the history of the different items (as well as seeing what items are valuable and which ones just have sentimental value).

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