Enema Syringe (From the Collection #7)

The Story

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.

The Specs

ACCESSION # (Web Link):002050004 a-d
Object Name:Enema Syringe
Manufacturer (Country):Unknown (England)
Date Made:Circa 1800
MESH Code:Enema — instrumentation; Syringes; Irrigation — syringe — rectal

Additional Images

About “From the Collection”

“From the Collection” was a project originally published in 2010 to the Museum of Health Care’s website by former Curator Paul Robertson, with the goal being to highlight some the Museum’s most unique items that might be missed in our collection. Each artifact is presented as a bite-sized story, related information, and a link to it’s fully detailed entry on our free online digital catalogue!

Posts in the “From the Collection” series were originally created with support from Funded by the Ontario Museums and Technology Fund. The support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is acknowledged.


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