Instruments

Steel instruments in red velvet-lined wood case
Steel instruments in red velvet-lined wood case

The Museum has a vast collection of medical instruments, from the smallest suture needle to a massive Iron Lung. Some of these tools represent important milestones in the history of medicine, such as the carbolic spray apparatus invented by Sir Joseph Lister, the father of modern antiseptics, and a replica of the first-ever obstetric forceps invented by Peter Chamberlen in the 17th century. 

For millennia it was thought that all illnesses were caused by an imbalance in the body’s humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm). We have many instruments designed for bleeding or purging a body of excess fluids to restore the humoral balance.