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Microscopical preparation of a tubercular lung, Dublin, Ireland, 1824

This slide shows a portion of human lung which has been injected and dried to show the internal structure and the presence of tubercles – indicators of the presence of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was one of the great killers of the 1800s, and was particularly prevalent in cities like Dublin, which expanded rapidly and became home to thousands of impoverished workers. The cramped unhygienic living conditions of much of Dublin provided an ideal breeding ground for tuberculosis. On the back there is a handwritten description by James Macartney, who prepared the slide: “A portion of Lung injected and dried: which contains Tubercles – These are seen as opake [sic] grey masses without blood vessels and to be composed of very minute depositions of the tubercular substance.” James Macartney (1770-1843) was an Irish anatomist who also taught anatomy and built up his own collection of anatomical and pathological specimens.

Object number:

1981-2074 Pt3



Glossary: human remains

term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'

Glossary: histology

The study of the structure of tissues by means of special staining techniques combined with light and electron microscopy.

Glossary: microscopical preparation

slides prepared for examination under the microscope

Glossary: tubercles

A round nodule, small eminence, or warty outgrowth found on bones, skin, or within the lungs in tuberculosis.

Glossary: lung

one of the pair of organs of respiration, situated in the chest cavity on either side of the heart and enclosed by a serous membrane (see plural).

Glossary: microscopy

The use of microscopes to study objects or samples. The three major types of microscopy are optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy.