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April 16, 1982

Medicine and Its Technology: An Introduction to the History of Medical Instrumentation

Author Affiliations

International College of Surgeons Chicago


by Audrey B. Davis (Contributions in Medical History, No. 7), 285 pp, with illus, $37.50, West-port, Conn, Greenwood Press Inc, 1981.

JAMA. 1982;247(15):2157. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320400067044

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This is an excellent book on the history of medical instrumentation by Audrey B. Davis, who is the curator of medical sciences at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. The book covers mainly the 18th and 19th centuries and is amply illustrated with photographs and drawings of medical instruments of those periods. Such an enormous subject matter precludes totally comprehensive coverage, but the topics that are discussed are dealt with in more than adequate detail. Such instruments as the thermometer and stethoscope, which today are accepted as part of the physician's armamentarium, have a long and exciting history in medicine.

This book is not a dull litany of instruments but an evaluation of the evolution of instrumentation in relationship to the physician, the patient, and the society in which the instruments were developed. As the author correctly points out, with medical instrumentation there also began the evolution of a different