instruments old and new

of 1 /1
60 those which are presented ready prepared and pre- digested, requiring no intellectual or physical activity; the cinemas which, we are told, are capable of seating 1,000,000 per day, having sprung from nothing in the last 40 years ; the greyhound racing courses, all started within the last fifteen years, and which now number 12 within the London area and whose total attendance in 1932 was ever 9,000,000. The growth of passive amusements is out of all proportion to those which require active participation. Thus the cinemas seating capacity and the gate attendances quoted above may be contrasted with the increase in players of games on the grounds provided by the L.C.C. ; (the figures given refer to the number of applicants to play respectively in 1926 and 1933), cricket 1078, against 1005, no increase ; football 911, against 1006, less than 100 increase ; or with the increase in the borrowers from public libraries in the County of London, which is estimated at 156 per 1,000. The increasing desire to take the easy mechanical path of collecting amusement or information, the latter especially from the B.B.C., in preference to the active cultivation of either hand or brain is certainly disturbing. Finally, it is clear that there is an immense emphasis to-day upon " the herd." More and more do people do things together in crowds and there seems to be more in this than fortuitous circumstance ; it is essen- tially a flight from the individual, from personal respon- sibility, and the need to think. It is true that the scout and guide movements and the working men’s club and institute union, have seen the danger of this tendency and try to encourage individual activity and responsibility within the group. It is true also that there has been development in such individual hobbies as gardening, bird fancying, photography, and the like, yet the balance is strongly on the other side. The frequency of groups of hikers as compared with the solitary tramper, the masses of cyclists with their club badges, the vision of the pier at Brighton or the beach at Southend, all bear their noisy testimony to this fact. It is immensely desirable that people should have holidays and that they should escape from the dust and noise of London, but a very large percentage of the benefit is lost in the clamour of the crowds. It would seem that our amusements are tending to become as mechanical as our work, and though the craftsman has become irretrievably lost in the whir of the machine, surely it becomes the more important that his leisure hours should not be absorbed mainly or only in the merry-go-round of Hampstead Heath. Socialisation has helped much to improve the lot of the working man ; nevertheless the world’s best work has come from the solitary, and we need to see that we do not swamp all individual effort by our host of organisations. INSTRUMENTS OLD AND NEW SOME interesting additions have been made to the historical section and the collection of surgical instruments in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England during the past twelve months, and among them are a number of Roman bronze instruments, found in London dating from the first century, which have been presented by Dr. Mervyn Gordon, F.R.S. Some of the specimens, used for medical, toilet, and other purposes, were recovered from the bed of the Walbrook and others were found in the mud of the Thames, where they had lain since the Roman occupation. Six of the bronze toilet instruments, together with a bronze coin bearing the head of Vespasian A.D. 78, were excavated from the bed of the Walbrook in 1933, and twenty-three other instruments which include forceps, probes, spoons, and sounds, were found in the City. A further addition to the series include the blade of a forceps, bronze ear-scoops, sounds, and a large number of bodkins and needles of bronze, wood, and bone, which were found in the mud of the Thames. Among the toilet implements are two bronze nail-files and a combined nail-cutter and ear-scoop, evidently em- ployed for manicuring purposes. From the same ,donor have also come several cutting knives of the mediaeval period and a number of ointment jars, salve pots, and glass phials used by London apothecaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A large collection of surgical instruments used by the late Mr. Charles Heath, F.R.C.S., has been presented to the museum by his executors. His inventive genius is well illustrated in the many instruments he devised in connexion with his work on the nose, ear, and throat. They include examples of his dressing forceps with lifter handles, his tympanic knife, nasal polypus snare, laryngeal scissors, and mastoid gouges, and his mallets of standard silveroid. There are also a number of personal relics. A gift of historical interest has been received from the trustees of the late Herbert Spencer. It consist of a rosewood box containing forty-eight microscope slides, mounted and prepared by Spencer between 1836 and 1840, which were originally kept at the Athenaeum Club. The specimens are chiefly botanical, and consist of sections of leaves and stems of plants and trees such as the elder, dock, acacia, logwood, and turnip. Each slide is carefully labelled in his autograph with the botanical name of the specimen. An exhibit showing the origin, development, and history of the tourniquet, arranged by Mr. C. J. S. Thompson, hon. curator of the museum, has now been completed and placed in the instrument room. The evolution of the appliance is shown from the primitive garrot used by Morell in 1674. This type was used in amputations in the seventeenth century and was described by Young of Plymouth in 1678 as " a hard linen wad to be placed over the vessel and held in place by a towel passed around the limb, its ends being tied together. The towel was then made tighter by a battoon or bedstaff." Petit’s invention of the screw tourniquet in 1718, superseded the use of the cord and stick and limited the pressure to the artery. The advantage of the .screw type was soon recognised, and from the eighteenth to the nine- teenth century the appliance passed through many modifications. These are illustrated in the many examples of such instruments as Knaur’s, Westphalen’s axle-type, the English axle, the cylinder type, and the field tourniquet devised by Maclure. Other specimens include the tourniquets invented by Usher Pearson, Viedemann, and Perret, all of which form links in the history of the appliance. All these additions to the museum will be on view between July llth and 25th. PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES PROMISE of unusual interest for ethnological and anthropological students is made in a book with the inviting title of " Primitive Society and its Vital Statistics." 1 In the preface Dr. Krzywicki explains his concern to show that " there exists a division of primitive life not hitherto sufficiently taken into consideration by science-that of vital statistics " and, he contends, no study of primitive communities should be undertaken without their aid. A comprehensive table of contents summarises topics such as factors determining density of population among primitive communities ; population estimates ; causes leading to depopulation; effects of contact with higher cultures ; natality and mortality experiences among various peoples, and so forth, while a really admirable bibliography calls for special mention. Following these attractive preliminaries it is disappointing to find that though Dr. Krzywicki has assembled with infinitely laborious research a variety of data, these data are widely removed from modern conceptions of what is meant by the term " vital- statistics." The material he examines with prodigious patience comprises an accumulation of facts and figures from the writings of a multitude of travellers and 1Primitive Society and its Vital Statistics. By Ludwik Krzywicki, Ph.D., Professor of Social History in the University of Warsaw. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd. 1934. Pp. 589. 20s.

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Page 1: INSTRUMENTS OLD AND NEW

60

those which are presented ready prepared and pre-digested, requiring no intellectual or physical activity;the cinemas which, we are told, are capable of seating1,000,000 per day, having sprung from nothing inthe last 40 years ; the greyhound racing courses, allstarted within the last fifteen years, and which nownumber 12 within the London area and whose totalattendance in 1932 was ever 9,000,000.The growth of passive amusements is out of all

proportion to those which require active participation.Thus the cinemas seating capacity and the gateattendances quoted above may be contrasted withthe increase in players of games on the groundsprovided by the L.C.C. ; (the figures given refer tothe number of applicants to play respectively in 1926and 1933), cricket 1078, against 1005, no increase ;football 911, against 1006, less than 100 increase ;or with the increase in the borrowers from publiclibraries in the County of London, which is estimatedat 156 per 1,000. The increasing desire to take theeasy mechanical path of collecting amusement orinformation, the latter especially from the B.B.C.,in preference to the active cultivation of either handor brain is certainly disturbing.

Finally, it is clear that there is an immense emphasisto-day upon " the herd." More and more do peopledo things together in crowds and there seems to bemore in this than fortuitous circumstance ; it is essen-tially a flight from the individual, from personal respon-sibility, and the need to think. It is true that thescout and guide movements and the working men’sclub and institute union, have seen the danger of thistendency and try to encourage individual activityand responsibility within the group. It is true alsothat there has been development in such individualhobbies as gardening, bird fancying, photography,and the like, yet the balance is strongly on the otherside. The frequency of groups of hikers as comparedwith the solitary tramper, the masses of cyclists withtheir club badges, the vision of the pier at Brightonor the beach at Southend, all bear their noisy testimonyto this fact. It is immensely desirable that peopleshould have holidays and that they should escapefrom the dust and noise of London, but a very largepercentage of the benefit is lost in the clamour of thecrowds. It would seem that our amusements aretending to become as mechanical as our work, andthough the craftsman has become irretrievably lostin the whir of the machine, surely it becomes themore important that his leisure hours should not beabsorbed mainly or only in the merry-go-round ofHampstead Heath. Socialisation has helped muchto improve the lot of the working man ; neverthelessthe world’s best work has come from the solitary,and we need to see that we do not swamp all individualeffort by our host of organisations.

INSTRUMENTS OLD AND NEW

SOME interesting additions have been made tothe historical section and the collection of surgicalinstruments in the museum of the Royal College ofSurgeons of England during the past twelve months,and among them are a number of Roman bronzeinstruments, found in London dating from the firstcentury, which have been presented by Dr. MervynGordon, F.R.S.Some of the specimens, used for medical, toilet, and

other purposes, were recovered from the bed of theWalbrook and others were found in the mud of theThames, where they had lain since the Romanoccupation. Six of the bronze toilet instruments,together with a bronze coin bearing the head ofVespasian A.D. 78, were excavated from the bedof the Walbrook in 1933, and twenty-three otherinstruments which include forceps, probes, spoons,and sounds, were found in the City. A furtheraddition to the series include the blade of a forceps,bronze ear-scoops, sounds, and a large number ofbodkins and needles of bronze, wood, and bone, whichwere found in the mud of the Thames. Among thetoilet implements are two bronze nail-files and a

combined nail-cutter and ear-scoop, evidently em-ployed for manicuring purposes. From the same,donor have also come several cutting knives of themediaeval period and a number of ointment jars, salvepots, and glass phials used by London apothecariesin the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.A large collection of surgical instruments used by the

late Mr. Charles Heath, F.R.C.S., has been presentedto the museum by his executors. His inventivegenius is well illustrated in the many instrumentshe devised in connexion with his work on the nose,ear, and throat. They include examples of his dressingforceps with lifter handles, his tympanic knife,nasal polypus snare, laryngeal scissors, and mastoidgouges, and his mallets of standard silveroid. Thereare also a number of personal relics.A gift of historical interest has been received from

the trustees of the late Herbert Spencer. It consistof a rosewood box containing forty-eight microscopeslides, mounted and prepared by Spencer between1836 and 1840, which were originally kept at theAthenaeum Club. The specimens are chiefly botanical,and consist of sections of leaves and stems of plantsand trees such as the elder, dock, acacia, logwood,and turnip. Each slide is carefully labelled in hisautograph with the botanical name of the specimen.

.

An exhibit showing the origin, development, andhistory of the tourniquet, arranged by Mr. C. J. S.Thompson, hon. curator of the museum, has nowbeen completed and placed in the instrument room.The evolution of the appliance is shown from theprimitive garrot used by Morell in 1674. This typewas used in amputations in the seventeenth centuryand was described by Young of Plymouth in 1678 as" a hard linen wad to be placed over the vessel andheld in place by a towel passed around the limb, itsends being tied together. The towel was then madetighter by a battoon or bedstaff." Petit’s invention ofthe screw tourniquet in 1718, superseded the use ofthe cord and stick and limited the pressure to theartery. The advantage of the .screw type was

soon recognised, and from the eighteenth to the nine-teenth century the appliance passed through manymodifications. These are illustrated in the manyexamples of such instruments as Knaur’s, Westphalen’saxle-type, the English axle, the cylinder type, and thefield tourniquet devised by Maclure. Other specimensinclude the tourniquets invented by Usher Pearson,Viedemann, and Perret, all of which form links inthe history of the appliance.

All these additions to the museum will be on viewbetween July llth and 25th.

PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES

PROMISE of unusual interest for ethnological andanthropological students is made in a book with theinviting title of " Primitive Society and its VitalStatistics." 1 In the preface Dr. Krzywicki explainshis concern to show that " there exists a division ofprimitive life not hitherto sufficiently taken intoconsideration by science-that of vital statistics " and,he contends, no study of primitive communities shouldbe undertaken without their aid. A comprehensivetable of contents summarises topics such as factorsdetermining density of population among primitivecommunities ; population estimates ; causes leadingto depopulation; effects of contact with highercultures ; natality and mortality experiences amongvarious peoples, and so forth, while a really admirablebibliography calls for special mention.

Following these attractive preliminaries it isdisappointing to find that though Dr. Krzywicki hasassembled with infinitely laborious research a varietyof data, these data are widely removed from modernconceptions of what is meant by the term " vital-statistics." The material he examines with prodigiouspatience comprises an accumulation of facts and figuresfrom the writings of a multitude of travellers and

1Primitive Society and its Vital Statistics. By LudwikKrzywicki, Ph.D., Professor of Social History in the Universityof Warsaw. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd. 1934.Pp. 589. 20s.