Monday, August 18, 2014

Doc in a Box, circa 1900


The weather was nice Sunday, so J suggested that we go to "the cursed object place", which is really Affordable Antiques in Naperville. And it did not disappoint. I found, in booth number 504 belonging to "Christa", this treasure of a doctor's bag from around 1900, complete with hemostats, scissors,gauze, how-to books and medicine. I'm sure I made an interesting picture on the closed-circuit camera as I got down on all fours and squished my nose against the glass, trying to read labels--I also sneaked the photo above and I am glad it came out somewhat, though it's possible that a good camera phone would be better for this kind of guerilla photography than my pocket Canon is. Unfortunately not all the tubes were turned to the right angle for me to read the labels, but here was what I could see: nitroglycerine (probably for heart ailments..I'm not sure how stable or unstable that amount of nitro is in a small jar, but I did carefully take my hands off the case at that point), salicyclate (aspirin), Camphor Oil, which I think was used like "smelling salts" to revive fainting persons, though I'd have to look that up. Also there was something sort of green marked Cu ...some sort of copper derivative? I know copper compounds were used to treat venereal disease. And then there was my old friend Bismuth, pink as ever and still available at your pharmacy as Pepto-Bismol. Missing were any sort of measuring/weighing tools, which would have made me a little more confident about dosage, and gloves of any kind--I can't remember if Lister had gotten the word out about washing yet in 1900, but I am thinking that for most things you'd be better off with your grandma pouring whiskey into you and hoping that and soup would fix you up. I didn't see any castor oil, ipecac, gentian violet or iodide, but the iodide may have been in one of the containers I couldn't see. Anyway, the whole thing including the case can be yours for 500.00, and if you are a small museum I'm thinking that could be a deal. Phone number is 630-505-1463. Check about that nitroglycerine, though.

Here's one more photo from the outside of the shop of some chairs that were exactly like the ones they had at Wil Wright's Ice Cream Parlor in LA in the 1960's, so I was tempted to get a couple, though I didn't (hydrant sold separately);)

btw Christa's booth also had a preserved sheep brain and best of all, a SCORPION PRESERVED IN FORMALDEHYDE. Someone had bought the alligator head from "Josie's" booth, but Gary, the shop owner assured me that "She was from Florida, she gets those all the time." which made me think that in Florida the big alligators tell the little alligators to behave "or Josie will get them." If I make it sound like Affordable Antiques is full of weird stuff, no, it's 80% awesome Art Deco jewelry, furniture and teacups; I just look for the oddball stuff.

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