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Vaginal speculum, Europe, 1600-1800

A speculum is used by a gynaecologist during examinations and can help diagnose genito-urinary diseases. It is also employed in related surgical procedures. The speculum is inserted into the vagina. It can then be opened as the screw mechanism rotates to expand the distance between the blades. Variations of this gynaecological instrument are still used. The speculum came from the private collection of Dr Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928). It was sold to Henry Wellcome by Hamonic’s sons in the summer of 1828 for just over £5,000. The collection consisted mostly of surgical instruments and pharmacy ware.

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Glossary: vaginal speculum

Instrument for dilating the vagina, and throwing light within thus facilitating examination or surgical operations

Glossary: gynaecology

A branch of medicine dealing with the treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive system.