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'Rathbone' dental unit, London, England, 1932

Developed in 1915 and used into the 1960s, the ‘Rathbone’ was one of the most popular dental units used in the United Kingdom. It combines a dental drill, lights, self-flushing spittoon and other dental equipment. Made by the Dental Manufacturing Co. Ltd., this example was installed in a dental surgery in Hendon, London before being donated to the Science Museum’s collections. It is shown here in a display based on dental surgery from the 1930s.

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    Glossary: dentistry

    The study, treatment and management of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, gums, teeth and their supporting tissues.

    Glossary: spittoon

    Large containers serving as places to spit. Associated with chewing tobacco.

    Glossary: dental unit

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