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Vernon type percussor, England, 1858-1910

Percussion or tapping the chest to hear sounds was an early technique used to diagnose illness. Percussion was first used by Leopold Auenbrugger (1722-1809) in 1761. It was not widely practised until his Latin work on percussion was translated into French in 1808. Physician Henry Vernon standardised percussors in 1858. His design had a flexible whalebone handle with a metal head enclosed in a rubber ring.

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Glossary: percussor

A small hammer, usually with soft rubber head, used to tap the body directly, in percussion of the chest or other part.