• French Perspectives on Eustachian Tube Catheterization

    Earlier I wrote about Sir Astley Cooper and his procedure of tympanic membrane perforation as a remedy for deafness. While in Britain there wasn’t tremendous grounds being made in aural surgery, the situation was quite different in France, as surgeons made more advancements in Eustachian tube catheterization as a remedy than their British counterparts.  By the… Continue Reading

  • The Pretensions of Dr. Turnbull

    I wrote about Dr. Alexander Turnbull (c. 1794-1881) in a previous post discussing his advertisements for deafness, particularly the use of veratria as a catch-all cure. Even though nearly all medical practitioners of the nineteenth century advertised in one form or another, Turnbull was especially prolific in advertising his cures and remedies, and often supplemented… Continue Reading

  • A Patient Interaction

    An aurist’s assertion of authority could at times be intimidating for deaf patients. An anecdote by a Reverend J. Richard about his “deaf and nervous friend” best demonstrates this intimidation. The friend was too timid to oppose or contradict an opponent, and said “yes” to everything or “no” everything, answering questions as he “conjectured the… Continue Reading

  • Diagnostic Instruments & Surgical Authority

    On 29 October 1839 the Bankruptcy Register listed John Harrison Curtis as a “bookseller.” By 1841, Curtis lost his patrons and his career was pretty much in shambles and his Dispensary was sold to the aurist William Harvey. The invention of the cephaloscope and the publication of his treatise on the instrument were aimed as… Continue Reading

  • Spot on?

    In fact, with one or two exceptions, “aurist,” in England, has been hitherto but another term for “quack.” –James Yearsley (1805-1869), 1839.