• Auricular Training & The Little Deaf Child

    I came across a copy of The Little Deaf Child: A Book for Parents, a short book published in 1928 reassuring parents of deaf children that with proper training and education, there was hope for their children. The book was written by John Dutton Wright (1866-1952), the founder and director of the Wright Oral School in New… Continue Reading

  • Surgeons & Surgical Kits

    There’s always a scene in any movie or television show depicting a surgical operation: a nurse or assistant clad in scrubs, enters the room pushing a cart. On the cart lies several delicate instruments, their hard steel glistening under the harsh lights of the theatre. None of the instruments touch each other, and they are… Continue Reading

  • Galvanism & Deafness

    Galvanism is a medical treatment that involves the application of electric currents to body tissues in order to stimulate the contraction of muscles. First experimented in the late eighteenth-century by Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) who investigated frog legs twitching once sparked by an electric current, galvanism was believed to be a miraculous application of scientific prowess… Continue Reading

  • Webster’s Otaphone

    I wrote a new entry over at Nineteenth-Century Disability: A Digital Reader: UK patent #7033, dated 17 March 1836, is the earliest British patent for a hearing aid device, granted to the aurist (19th century term for ear specialist) Alphonso William Webster, for his “curious” invention, the Otaphone (sometimes spelled “Otophone”). In his publication, A New and Familiar Treatise on… Continue Reading

  • Medieval Surgery: Abulcasis

    I was watching World Without End and came across this scene in which a female medical practitioner explains the value and beauty of a surgical textbook she purchased: I don’t recognize the book–does anyone know what it is? On the left page, there’s a man fighting Death. The right page is the Zodiac Man, an explanation… Continue Reading