Ernst Haeckel pieces.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. It was created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. The method of comparing hardness by seeing which minerals can scratch others, however, is of great antiquity, having first been mentioned by Theophrastus in his treatise On Stones, c. 300 BC, followed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, c. 77 AD.
Photoprint from radiograph by W K von Röntgen, 1895
The very first X-ray, taken by its inventor Wilhelm Röntgen (27 March 1845-10 February 1923), was of his wife’s left hand. Upon seeing her skeletal likeness, she exclaimed: “I have seen my death!”
Acute Osteomyelitis - Historically known as “Bone Fever”
Top: Acute supperative osteomyelitis in femur - note the purulent cavities and pus-filled medullary canal at A, B, and C. In this case, the epiphysis (E) and conjunctive cartilage (D) are uninfected.
Center Left: Acute osteomyelitis of tibia, cicatrices showing common position of sinuses in bone.
Center Right: Acute epiphysial separation due to osteomyelitis following typhoid fever.
Bottom: Early stage of acute osteomyelitis in tibia. Note site “A” - where the infection passed from the periosteum to the interior of the bone. The articular cartilages (C) are sodden with pus from the infected joint.
Acute osteomyelitis is most commonly seen in children and those with diabetes. It is rarely “spontaneous” - the bacteria that infect the subperosteum and marrow have to be introduced into the bloodstream somehow, and there is usually a known source.
Systemic infection or traumatic injury are the most common ways that bacteria (today, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus) can get to the bones. Historically, scarlet fever (caused by group A Streptococcus pyogenes) and typhoid fever (Salmonella typhi) were known to cause a large number of osteomyelitis cases in their wake.
When children develop osteomyelitis, the long bones of the body (the femur, humerus, etc.) are most often affected, whereas the spine and pelvis are most commonly affected in adults. This is because there is much greater bloodflow to the growing long bones in kids, and as such there’s much more opportunity for bacteria in the blood to infect the site.
Early symptoms of what used to be called “bone fever” are fever and bone pain (as one might assume), as well as local warmth and swelling, and an overall malaise. The bone infection usually presents after a patient appears to have recovered from a disease or wound, as it takes several days to become established enough to cause symptoms. Later on, if left untreated, extreme pain and open, often purulent, wounds above the infection may occur, as the bacteria bore canals through the affected bones.
Without treatment, osteomyelitis can lead to sepsis, complete breakdown of affected bones, or gangrene. When the epiphysis is affected by the infection, growth of that bone can be significantly stunted.
Today, the condition is usually treated with long-term, high-dosage, IV antibiotic therapy. If it’s not caught at the start of the infection, debridement of the bone (removing the infected tissue) may be required, and in extreme cases, bone resection (cutting out an entire chunk of infected bone) or amputation may be required. Prior to antibiotics, resection was the most common cure.
Diseases of the Bones, their pathology, diagnosis, and treatment. Thomas Jones, 1887.
I apologize for my long absence. I’m finally on winter break, so I’ll be posting more frequently.
I hope you all had a good holiday and I wish you a fabulous New Year’s Eve/Day.
Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) was a prolific engineer and inventor. A year after forming the Woods Electric Company in 1884, he sold the patent for an invention that allowed a telegraph station to send voice and telegraph messages over a single wire (called the ”telegraphony”) to the American Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, Woods created the “induction telegraph” (or Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph) which allowed communication between moving trains, greatly reducing railway accidents.
Woods’ other inventions included: an air-brake system (purchased by George Westinghouse), the power system known as “the third rail” (a conductor of electricity set parallel to the subway’s tracks), and a thermostatically controlled egg incubator.
*Check out this short Granville T. Woods Documentary to learn more about the man dubbed “the Black Edison.”
From the electronic to the scientific: a range of microscopes.
Last one for now - hygiene items. I confess to being rather surprised by the specifically named vaginal syringe. Congress would be offended …
Wonderful Aesthetic Piece: 1870’s Medical Student Surgery Table. Fantastic Cast Iron Claw feet, Fully Articulated, Binder Holders still working, Oak table top, Wood Tray. All the decoration is 1876 Colonial Revival. Amazing Quality and Detail. Available @ $1200
Badass Scientist of the Week: Ellen Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) was the most prominent female American chemist of the 19th century, and a pioneer in sanitary engineering. Her family was relatively poor, so she had to work to save enough money to attend Vassar College. She earned earned a Bachelor of Science in 1870, and was most attracted to astronomy (as a pupil of Maria Mitchell) and chemistry. After being rejected by various industrial chemists, she instead applied to MIT and soon became their first female student. She received her second bachelor’s degree, then a master’s from Vassar, and continued with hopes of earning a doctorate from MIT. Although MIT would not award doctorates to women until 1886, Richards perservered, establishing a Women’s Laboratory and becoming an (unpaid) instructor in chemistry and mineralogy. When MIT opened the nation’s first laboratory of sanitary chemistry, she was appointed its instructor. Around this time, Richards also undertook a survey of the pollution Massachusetts’ water supplies, and from this the first water quality standards were born. She served as a water analyst for the State Board of Health as well as working as an instructor at MIT, and she was primarily concerned with both public health and applying scientific ideas of domestic ideas—she believed that having good nutrition, proper clothing, fitness, sanitation and efficiency would give women more time to pursue interests other than cooking and cleaning. Richards co-founded the American Association of University Women, which helps open the doors of higher education to other women even to this day, and in 1910 she was granted an honorary doctor of science degree from Vassar College. A powerful leader, a wise teacher and a tireless worker, Richards died from illness in 1911.
She had to put up with a lot of shit. What a hero.