Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mystery Medical Object!

I recently bought an interesting lot of Victorian chemist shop bottles from a sale. I love the aqua tone to the old glass and the middle one complete with its original label, which reads 'Mist Alba'.
Amongst the collection was this bizarre object!

I was wondering if anyone out there would be able to enlighten me as to its use? I have no idea if it is as old as the other bottles or whether it does actually have a medical use, but I apologise in advance if its use is gross or unsavoury!!! It stands approx: 28cm (11") high.

The lid has two tubes protruding from it; one straight up from the centre and another curves in front. They look to have a screw thread on the end, perhaps for joining a tube to?

This flotation devise(?) appears to close off the tube if it is forced upwards. The lid closes tightly with a rubberised seal and the screw top on the glass jar.

It is marked 'Thackray Leeds'. I have 'Googled' this and have found that there is an amazing medical museum at Thackray in Leeds, where I am sure they would know what it was used for, unfortunately, it is a little too far away from here.....
So, if there is someone out there who thinks they know what this is, I would be fascinated to know - thank you in advance!


  1. Well Niki we could be wrong but if we're right yr not going to like it.

    We think it might be an old victorian/Edwardian version of the catheter collection.

    Reasons for this being - (Now bear with me as we are going into hubby serious man talk now).

    First we agree it's a medical bottle. It is used to collect liquid. The floatation device will stop the overflow of liquid collected. Therefore it leaves me to conclude that it is a catheter, because a catheter is not constantly monitored and the rate of fill cannot be determined, so you cannot actually predict when it will be full. Of course we may be wrong.

    Now lets get back to fluffy twinkle nice thoughts everybody .... phew:))

  2. Hi Niki

    I was thinking some form of inhaler when I saw it - but Ginny's version sounds convincing - even if it's not a particularly nice one!!!

    I quite agree Ginny, let's get back to pretty fluffy thoughts!!!

    Clare x

    PS. Perhaps you could email a photo to the museum?

  3. Maybe for distillation i think - i will ask my friend - she is pharmacist - when i'll get her ;)


  4. It reminds me of the vessels used to attach to chest tube drainage. As an RN, we used the plastic versions of these but they were similar with the two ports. One attaches to the tube from the patient and one to another vessel filled with water to regulate the suction pressure. Interesting find.

  5. Anonymous12:18 pm

    Having read the other comments I'm rather glad I don't know what this is. Your local museum might be able to help though. I'm with Ginny and Clare on the fluffy twinke nice thoughts!

  6. Anonymous12:49 pm

    Your bottle with the tubes appears to be a collection bottle for chest tube drainage. Curious find!! I love the Mist Alba bottle!
    Peggy, R.N.

  7. Niki,
    I think its very wise to put off using this for food processing until we clear this up. HA.

  8. It reminds me of apparatus we used to use in the labs to pass gasses through liquids.You know when you here about doctors saving a person with a collasped lung on an aeroplane just using the tube of a pen and a bottle of water etc? Maybe it's something similar!

  9. I think, but could easily be wrong, that it is a very old version of an underwater seal drainage bottle. The chest drain would fit on one of the tubes and the flotation device on the other. These drains have water put into them to maintain the pressure as fluid or air is drained from the chest.Still used frequently to re inflate collapsed lungs but of course modern and plastic now. Love old medical stuff Mary

  10. Hi Niki, seems you came back to blogland while I was on holidays. Nice to have you back! I always enjoy your blog with those wonderful photos and ideas.

  11. Oh what fun we are having at the stone house today!!!
    I am in the dark about this one :) But hope that I never have use of it...whatever it is!

  12. Whatever it is, Niki, let's hope it was sterilized before it was used! =)

  13. Interesting! And, I particularly love all the theories! Perhaps you could email Leeds?

  14. Hi Niki,
    Maybe it's some victorian IV device.
    Interesting collection.

  15. I hate to think what it could be used for!!! It does look like some kind of catheter - I'm with Ginny on this one! Have you emailed a photo to the museum?
    Kim x

  16. Hi Niki,
    Well.......I'm with Rosa on this one. Not having any medical background I would not even begin to guess! Interesting tho.

  17. I love your bottles and am completely envious. Love the colors and the shapes. Lucky girl!

  18. Lovely bottles, I have a similar one at home but it is blue!

  19. I thought it looked like an old suction bottle, but it could be a collection bottle.

    Interesting collection!
    God bless.

  20. Hi, my name is Deanna and I'm a fellow blogger from Texas. What a treat your blog is. I really enjoy visiting and reading what is going on in your world. Your blog has heart.

  21. It almost resembles the blood transfusion device in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

  22. It's part of a glass, 2 bottle pump similar to an Emerson pump. http://books.google.com/books?id=RxNryfowpd0C&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=emerson+chest+tube+pump&source=web&ots=9JHnz0igYg&sig=7MjAMJ3gfexr0mXaJVpW2YM2D2I They are used to drain fluid from the chest. We still use glass ones today, called Emersons. I work in an Open Heart ICU in the US, all our chest tube are now connected to plastic "boxes" made by Atrium. If you google these terms, you should be able to find better pictures. Hope this helps!!

  23. Those aqua bottles are gorgeous, but that particular one is a little spooky.

  24. HI, That is an antique vaporizer.


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx