Scientific Instuments
August 17, 2003 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Health Physics Instrumentation Collection. A shoe-fitting fluoroscope, Geiger Mueller detectors, civil defence items, atomic movie posters, radioactive quack cures, radiation warning signs, etc.
Much more in the way of historical scientific instrumentation at the University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instuments : exhibits on psychology, acoustics, and early electron microscopy; more in the collections.
American Artifacts has some interesting articles and illustrations on antique scientific and medical instruments, such as these quack eye massagers.
posted by plep (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can remember getting shoes at the Missoula (Montana) Mercantile in the late 50's and getting my feet x-rayed several times - until my father took me to get shoes. Scientist father, x-rays directed at the genitalia - commotion. Never saw that machine again, but I assume my father was to blame.

It was cool seeing the bones in my feet.
posted by skyscraper at 12:31 AM on August 18, 2003

Wear at night. Radiate as directed.
posted by tss at 5:43 AM on August 18, 2003

I'm discouraged from undertaking a closer study of medical history by the sheer creepiness of yesteryear's medical devices. Will our stuff look as crazed and barbaric as the devices linked to here 100 years from now?
posted by Faze at 7:28 AM on August 18, 2003

Cool. I heard stories from my father about the shoe fluoroscope doohickey, but had no mental image to go with it except my own ideas of what medical X-ray equipment looked like.

Yeah, "creepy" is about right. Sorta RCA-Victor / maltshop aesthetic / didn't-know-what-they-were-fucking-with vibe.
posted by NortonDC at 8:02 AM on August 18, 2003

I'm glad I'm a little too young for that scary X-ray machine. Just think about it, they used radiation to see if your shoes fit. None of that low tech asking you how they felt or even just pressing down on the toes. I know it's a cliche', but, What Were They Thinking?
posted by tommasz at 8:55 AM on August 18, 2003

I just think it's an amazing contraption.

More historically interesting (if creepy) devices :-

The Museum of the History of Psychological Instumentation.

Barnard College History of Psychology Collection.
'This collection is dedicated to the preservation of
the history and apparatus from the early days of the
Barnard College Psychology Department. Barnard
College, a four-year women's college, was founded in
1889 and the first courses in psychology were offered
in 1906 over the strenuous objections of many faculty
and administrators who maintained that psychology was
not a fitting topic for young women ... '
posted by plep at 9:08 AM on August 18, 2003

I'm getting chills from those eye massagers! You'd probably also love The Antique Vibrator and Quack Medical Museum, plep ;) I especially love the ridiculousness of the hand-crank turned one called Woody.
posted by iconomy at 9:36 AM on August 18, 2003

Thanks, plep - I wandered off into the exhibition on Rudolph Koenig, and acoustical experiments and instruments. Fascinating!
posted by carter at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2003

I got my hands on one of the CDV-717 Civil Defense Raditation Meteres at Defcon XI. A guy there was selling them. All I had to do was put in a new C cell battery, and I was off looking for Rads....
posted by severed at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2003 father took me to get shoes. Scientist father, x-rays directed at the genitalia - commotion.

Buying shoes. X-rays directed to your genitalia. Um...where exactly do you wear your shoes?
posted by kayjay at 7:33 PM on August 18, 2003

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