Weiss patent syringe, circa 1850

Weiss patent syringe, circa 1850

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This image is part of the feature Surgeon's Tools of Yesteryear

Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Weiss patent syringe for use as an enema or stomach pump. The components of this apparatus are made from brass and ivory. It dates from around 1850, England. Enema procedures involved the use of this syringe-like device for evacuating the lower intestinal tract. This was achieved through introducing fluids to the rectum and colon via the anus. Stomach pumping procedures are for evacuating the contents of the stomach. Volumes of fluid would be administered and removed from the stomach through the long rubber tubing, via the mouth (or nose). Such techniques for cleansing the gastrointestinal tract have been used throughout history; the stomach pump was first invented in the eighteenth century but enema procedures were practiced as far back as 1500 B.C.,.

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