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Ophthalmoscope And Case (Germany)

This is a Ophthalmoscope and case.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of American History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated 1860. Its medium is ophthalmoscope: velvet, metal, wood, optical glass; case: leather, velvet.

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.

  • Spencer Microscope (USA)
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  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 1990.0183.01.
  • 14.2012.2
  • Lithotomy Surgical Set (France)
  • case: mahogany, brass, chamois; instruments: steel, ebony.
  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 302606.773.
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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.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Ophthalmoscope And Case (Germany) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>