Neat Old Photo

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Feb 2001:Neat Old Photo
By Wormwood on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 11:27 am: Edit

There's an apothecary museum in Old Town Alexandria (Virginia) that has a great 18th-century spring-loaded scarification tool about the size of a pillbox.

I have been there too, they have a huge wormwood bush growing the the garden of medicinal plants, outside in the back.

By Black_Rabbit on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 01:20 pm: Edit

'Now we have the means to save a limb, so there is little demand for speed-amputators. '

Sigh. You know it. When I think of all that wasted tuition...

Do you know if that history-ship is hiring?

By Bjacques on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 01:07 am: Edit

There's an apothecary museum in Old Town Alexandria (Virginia) that has a great 18th-century spring-loaded scarification tool about the size of a pillbox. I think it's actually for bleeding. You put it against the skin of the patient, push the button on the other side of the box, and four mini-scythes spring into the patient's flesh.

It's a wonderful artifact from the golden age of barbaric surgery that also incorporates the then-current mania for high technology--i.e., clockwork. It's a direct ancestor of the custom instruments of the Drs. Beverly in "Dead Ringers" and the death chair in the NIN "Happiness in Slavery" video.

By Anatomist1 on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 11:56 pm: Edit

Actually, I saw a video presentation on a traveling history ship. The residents/teachers on this ship learned and taught all about 18-19th century practices in herbal medicine, navigation, cooking, etc... including shipboard medical practices. The medical dude pantomimed a technique with a scythe-like knife followed by a bone saw, whereby a limb could be amputated in less than ten seconds... pretty impressive. You'd be amputated before you could faint.

I enjoy outdated medical lore because it seems so horrible on a visceral level, thereby pointing out how horrible and ignorant our current practices will likely seem later on. Transcendence is like a shark: stop striving and perish. Limb amputation techniques are an exception: in the past they were much better at it because they needed to be. Now we have the means to save a limb, so there is little demand for speed-amputators.


By Ekmass on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 12:29 am: Edit

Shit I am sure Roman times were bad but hey, do not forget the good old glory days of US colonial times. While living in DC I went to a bunch of old apocothearies (sp) and doctors offices, man the things they used to pull bullets(balls) out of you.. Not to mention they had this one instrument that looked like a mini scythe. They used it to cut the skin down to the bone before they began to saw at the bone for amputation. And some say our modern medicine is barbaric.

By Chrysippvs on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 01:26 pm: Edit

Not as bad as Roman medical instruments. I went to a lecture about roman "Medicene" a year ago. the doctor had with him around 200 different antique medical instruments including cathedars (sp?), bleeeding rods, etc. Even big drills for brain sugery. He said there are records of the romans actually redirecing viens by inserting tubes into the viens then linking them somewhere else on the body. They have also found pins in legs to correct broken bones etc...

I am sooooo glad I live in the time I do. I have no notions of "how romantic the middle ages were!" I like going to buy food from Kroger, communication taking seconds, and medical care being around the corner.

"hmmm a headache? Your choloric humor must be out of synch because the devil is infesting your breath chamber. Let me just drill a hole and let him out....."

By Admin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 01:18 pm: Edit

This just now, on ebay. Has trepanning saws and other pokey items. See what I mean by the prohibitive cost? Although it is a fully cased set:

19th Cent. Surgical Instruments

By Tabreaux on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 12:53 pm: Edit

A U.S. Civil War era surgeon's kit is always an eye-opener. I see them from time to time. You just can't look at that bone saw without flinching.

By Admin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:27 am: Edit

I've been looking for a bargain, but they're expensive. Trust me, I'm looking.

I have 19th cent syringes, blood letting tools, blistering cups, numerous apothecary & drug bottles, a couple misc items, etc. These things can usually be found at affordable prices.

Doctors make collecting med stuff hard, they have the money to drive the prices up.

By Anatomist1 on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:12 am: Edit

Hey Kallisti,

Do you have any old trepanation tool kits? Ever since I wriggled with revulsion from reading THE PEOPLE WITH HOLES IN THEIR HEADS, I've had a strange fascination with trepanning.


By Admin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:57 am: Edit

I collect opium bottles & paraphenalia as well as other little medical bits.

Various opium tinctures were heavily marketed towards dosing babies in the 19th century. It was especially popular amongst the poor, to keep babies and children quiet and out of the way.

Winslow's Syrup

Children frequently died from over-dosing and the ones that survived grew up with extreme health issues and addiction problems.

For those of you going to nola in march, make a point of going to the Pharmacy Museum on Chartres St ... it's wonderful

By Artemis on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:14 am: Edit

I have a bottle of paregoric in my old bottle collection. The label reads:

Hi-Qual Pure Drugs
Alcohol 48.9%
Opium 1.54 grs. per fluid ounce
Dose 5 to 20 drops

The Howell Co. Inc.
New Orleans, LA

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:08 am: Edit

Laudanum was indeed tincture of opium, usually colored and flavored with saffron to cut the hideous taste.

You guys do not want to swallow raw opium, a favorite method of suicide in Asia in the old days.

Closely related to laudanum is paragoric, which is tincture of codeine.

Heroin, a morphine (diacetyl) derivative, was developed not as an anaesthetic but as a cough remedy by Bayer, the aspirin people.

And sure enough, junkies don't get colds.

They may get PCP pneumonia once the HIV ravages their immune systems though.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:00 am: Edit

Actually, laudanum would be tincture of opium, which is a very crude product. Much less refined than morphine sulfate.

By Chrysippvs on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 08:24 am: Edit

piece of trivia for the those interested:

Verlaine had a younger brother that died in childbirth. Instead of burying him his mother pickled the fetus in a jar and placed it on a stand in her bedroom.

Verlaine, in the common absinthe induced rage, threw it across the room, sending the "pickled punk (I am sorry, I had to use that term once in my life" under the bed, where his mother quickly grabbed it and cuddled it.

Now we see why Verlaine drank so much...

By Ekmass on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 08:11 am: Edit

True, laudanum it was called

By Chrysippvs on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 08:07 am: Edit

yeah hi went nuts after having like a quart of brandy, wine, and then a few absinthes...I don't see how that guy drank that much...

I know that mothers used to give their children small amounts of morphine sulfate back in the day to calm them down a bit....

By Ekmass on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 07:55 am: Edit

Justin, I suppose if you let your kid drink enough absinthe it would knock him out and keep him quiet for awhile, therby allowing one to enjoy their own drink in peace. But you are right there seem to be quite a few instances where children drank absinthe. Most notably I suppose was the daughter of the guy who took a rifle and went around shooting folks. They blamed his rampage on the bad effects of the drink and you know the rest of the story

By Tcsmit on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 04:52 am: Edit

When I was in college, I had to take a class titled "Introduction to Analytical Chemistry". When I registered for the class, the registration form said 'Intro to Anal.' Probably a registrar in-joke.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 06:50 pm: Edit

I had a horrible summer job doing data entry, and the position title was "Document Analyst." On my pay stup it read "Doc Anal." It always sounded like a pronographic supervillain....

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

Yeah, he looks like Ron Jeremy, aka Dr Peter Proctor, the Anal Analyst...not that I ever watched any of those videos...needless to say...

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 02:33 pm: Edit

looks like he should be a 70's porn star...

for anyone interested here is a higher res scan of the Bistro photo:

it is pretty large..just thrown it in photoshop and knock down the image size...would make a great framed picture...

By Petermarc on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 02:20 pm: Edit

great's one that's's part of a set of six...pouringman

By Timk on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Ted, if you e-mail me the full res picture- ill put it on my web page, and you can link to it from the forum - thereby not having to abide by the filesize limit.


By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 01:21 pm: Edit

I wish I had some...let me see if I can find some pics..I think Oxygenee may have more examples that myself...

By Fluid on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 01:14 pm: Edit

Hey Justin,

How about posting some of those pics?   Not quite the sophistication of the Lyon photo perhaps, but good for a laugh n'est-ce pas?

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 01:11 pm: Edit

I am suprised that the little girl is not drinking the absinthe. For some reason I have seen over 2 dozen postcards etc. with little kids drinking absinthe. There is one set with this little kid getting drunk on absinthe knocking over tables, it is crazy.

What where they thinking?

By Morriganlefey on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 12:55 pm: Edit

Wow, that photo is just splendid Ted - thanks for sharing! (And you've got better eyes than I do if you can really tell that the spoon is Pipes.)

- Morrigan

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 08:15 am: Edit

that is a great one....have you been to lucullus to see what new oddities they have come up with recently....seems they got in a new shipment...

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 07:53 am: Edit

Here is an old photo taken in Lyon, circa 1901. I used the best resolution I could for the allowed filesize, so the detail you see here is not nearly as good as the copy I have. The four seated subjects are having a drink. Two of the men and the woman are having what looks like Cusenier quinquina. The other two men are having Pernod Fils absinthe. I see what looks like a 'Les Pipes' absinthe spoon on the table in the foreground.


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