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Allison's differential binaural stethoscope, probably English, 1851-1910

The stethoscope is used on the chest or another part of the body to listen to organs such as the heart or lungs. The sounds can help diagnose the patient’s problem. The stethoscope was devised in 1816 by French physician Rene Laennec (1781-1826). It was constructed from a simple hollow tube. This binaural (two ear) example is named after its inventor, Scott Allison. It comes with interchangeable chest pieces. It is made from ivory, metal and rubber. Binaural stethoscopes were conceived as early as 1829. However, effective models were only developed from the 1840s.

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Glossary: stethoscope

A device which is used to listen to sounds produced by the human body. Ordinarily a stethoscope consists of rubber tubing in the shape of a Y.

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.