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Vaginal speculum, possibly French, 1801-1850

Made of boxwood and ebony, this vaginal speculum uses a syringe mechanism to introduce ointments into the uterine cavity. A British pamphlet of 1857 advised husbands that examination with a vaginal speculum ‘plunges its wretched victim…down into the lowest deep infamy and degradation’. Specula examinations caused controversy over male doctors performing such an intimate examination on women. However, the speculum was routine in gynaecological examination by the end of the 1800s.

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Glossary: vaginal speculum

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

Glossary: surgery

trial term S&H