Ophthalmoscope And Case (Germany), 1860
This is a Ophthalmoscope and case.
In 1850, German physiology professor Hermann von Helmholtz devised an eye mirror that used reflection to direct light rays from sunlight or a candle through the pupil, illuminating the back of the eye, called the fundus. A lens was added to sharpen the image. The so-called ophthalmoscope afforded observers the first opportunity to see living tissue, blood vessels and all, functioning in real time. The device’s success led to many improvements on the initial design. This 1860 alteration by Richard Liebreich, a student of von Helmholtz, directed a beam of light to the back of the eye and had lenses that could flip out of the way. In Liebreich’s time, a medical tool such as this added to a doctor’s aura of expertise. The idea of directing light into the body along with a magnifying lens fostered the invention of endoscopes, laryngoscopes, otoscopes, and eventually the fiber optics of the 1960s.
It is credited
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 314016.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D (closed): 1.5 x 13.8 x 6.2 cm (9/16 x 5 7/16 x 2 7/16 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.