Enema syringe

ACCESSION NUMBER: 002050004 a-d
Object Name: Enema syringe
Manufacturer: Unknown
Date Made: Circa 1800
Country of Origin: England
MeSH Code: Medical Subject Headings Enema — instrumentation; Syringes; Irrigation — syringe — rectal


Enemas were a mainstay of medicine for centuries.  This enema syringe, also known as a clyster, reflects the early nineteenth-century belief in the benefits of purging the body on a regular basis.  This example is made of wood and pewter, but enema syringes could also be of such materials brass and ivory.  Whether they had different nozzle attachments and hoses for an easier reach for self administration, clysters all served to introduce liquid into the rectum.

This enema syringe once belonged to Dr. Theodore George Harwood Drake (1891-1959), a paediatrician and nutritionist who co-developed Pablum cereal for babies in the early 1930s and was a noted collector of important and rare artefacts and art documenting the history of children’s health.

Related: Ideology & Knowledge

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