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June 1967

Inventum Novum.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;119(6):653-654. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00290240175021

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It is often the fate of books and of great discoveries that awards of merit come in stingy driblets. Recognition and praise may arrive in quantities reciprocal to the value of the contribution. The poppy of oblivion may spread a pall of complete forgetfulness. Rarely a rediscovery will bring to light some grand contribution for which the mood of the time was not ready in the epoch of its birth. Mendel went to his grave with his powerful discovery almost wholly unrecognized.

Auenbrugger, born in Graz, Austria nearly 250 years ago, was dealt with much more amiably by fate. His certainly not original observations when he percussed the casks in his father's inn to determine the level of wine, together with his great musical ability, led to his "new invention by means of percussing the human chest as a sign of detecting obscure diseases in the interior of the chest."

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