BEWARE! Poison Gas!

Won’t someone please start selling reproductions of these swell WWII poison gas posters? Don’t know if they are available at the gift shop at the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin where they currently hang, but thank God, they are least available  online via the Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health & Medicine.

gas-mustard

Called “Hun Stuff” by the allies against whom it was employed during WWI, mustard gas was banned by the Geneva Convention in 1925 but nonetheless continued to be employed outside Europe during the ’20s and ’30s  (by Italy vs. Libya, France vs. Morocco, Japan vs. China) and was famously a tool of extermination used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in 1988. Its coincidental effect of suppressing blood cell formation later led to to its use in development of the first chemotherapy drug, mustine.

gas-lewisite

Lewisite is related to arsenic and was created by US military scientists trying for a follow up to mustard gas, though it wasnt’ developed in time to see action in WWII.  In the 1920s, it aquired the name “Dew of Death”

gas-chlor

Chloropicrin was also first used first by the Germans in WWI.  Today it is used used as a fumigant to exterminate vermin and animals as large as rabbits.  It not on causes extreme tearing but also acutal liquification of the cornea.

gas-phosgene

Phosphene was by the Germans during WWII and by the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War.  Previously it had been used used extensively in dye manufacturing and today is used in the production of  polycarbonate eyeglass lenses.

More Trashy Nurse Books

Time for another shameful glimpse into the vanished world of tawdry nurse novels. In this installment, we move from the stereotypical hospital courtship romances toward the seamier world of male fantasy.  Thanks to Curt Purcell’s fabulous Flickr set for these examples.

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Not exactly a sensitive portrayal of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  And who knew PTSS could produce glowing yellow eyes!

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Join the sexual revolution and get it on with these nurses who can both share and treat STDs!

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TWO daring novels in ONE book.  Breaking all the rules here!  Including the rule that fantasy nurses are required to wear nurse caps regardless of their state of undress.

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Got it right this time!  The cap stays on!

Inappropriate Playthings

We’re always collecting pictures related to medical, health, safety, and the like, but sometimes other themes emerge. Like with these three otherwise unrelated images all representing things that probably shouldn’t be given to children but apparently were.

plaything1
This painting by Dutch artist Jan van Neck depicts the great anatomist Frederick Ruysch dissecting a stillborn infant as part of an anatomy lesson. However, it’s not so much the dissected baby that caught our eye as the child (Ruysch’s son?) who’s been invited in to rubberneck. And in particular it’s that fetal skeleton the kid’s apparently been given as a toy.

plaything2

Probably not quite as dangerous as it sounds, but still alarming if nothing else for its pro-nuke propaganda, this item was produced by the A.C. Gilbert Company in 1950. It contained a geiger counter, cloud chamber, electroscope, spinthariscope, and some genuine radioisotopes just to get things popping. Gilbert was also the inventor of the classic engineering toy, the Erector Set, (which, come to think of it, is also a kind of inappropriate at least as far as that name goes.)

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And speaking of “Erectors,” the Tumblr wonderland Mostly Forbidden Zone dug up this wrong-headed attempt to — what? — make oxygen more fun to breathe? I wasn’t aware children needed additional incentive other than the threat of suffocation when it came to breathing, but even if your normal oxygen tank might be less than inviting to particularly sensitive respiratory patients, I’m not sure encouraging them to “suck on the candy tube until you make the clown’s eyes roll,” is really putting the right idea in their heads. Or maybe I just overly suspicious of clowns.

 

Medical Fantasy Art from the Wellcome Museum

While poking around Sutured Infection’s Tumblr, we found these lovely medical themed paintings by Richard Tennant Cooper commissioned in 1912 by the Henry Wellcome for his museum of medical history.

cooper-cancer

Richard Tennant Cooper – “A giant claw pierces the breast of a sleeping naked woman, another naked woman swoops down and stabs the claw with a knife ; symbolising science’s fight against cancer.”, c. 1910

V0017053 An unconscious naked man lying on a table being attacke

Richard Tennant Cooper: “An unconscious naked man lying on a table being attacked by little demons armed with surgical instruments; symbolising the effect of chloroform on the human body.”, 1912

V0017232 Syphilis. Gouache by Richard Tennant Cooper, 1912.

Richard Tennant Cooper: “Syphilis”, 1912

A Good Eye for a Sutured Infection

We created a Tumblr account recently and have been really digging the vintage medical scenes shared by Sutured Infection. Here’s a sample of what we’re crushing out on. We think you’ll understand.

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Some days your nerve feel numbered.

 

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A hand exerciser.

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Equipment for studying the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

sut-ribcage

Herbert List: “Instructive View into the Ribcage”, 1944

sut-electroretinogram

Electroretinogram: modern apparatus devised to measure the electric potential of the retina.

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sut-operatingtable

“Operating table developed by Dr. E.L. Doyen, called “Doyen’s Bed”, ancestor of all modern operating tables…”

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And this is the afore-mentioend Dr. Doyen doing what he does best – tricky surgeries.  In this case separating two “Hindoo twins” in 1902.

 

Health for Sale at Philly Museum of Art

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philly-dresden

The exhibition “Health for Sale” currently at the Philadelphia Museum illustrates the story of commercial medicine through an intriguing collection of posters hawking nostrums, panaceas and health advice in a time before the FDA meddled in such things.There’s more than 50 pieces featuring alabaster skinned beauties seeking anemia cures, virile men donning electro-galvanic belts, families posed in health-giving underwear, bears swigging cough syrup, the spectral figure of Tuberculosis knocking at the door on Christmas Eve. It’s closing in July, so get there soon. And while there, you must of course drop in at the Mütter Museum. Thanks to Abraham Schroeder for alerting us to the to the show.