Monaural Stethoscopes

WLMD ID: ardb ; ardc
Anesthesiologists manage the patient's vital functions during surgery, and may use a variety of equipment to monitor vital signs. The French physician, René Laennec (1781-1826) invented the first stethoscope in 1816. To hear the sounds made by the patient's heart or lungs, one end of the wooden tube was held to the patient's chest and the other to the physician's ear. Scores of modifications of Laennec's tube, and new monaural (one ear) designs, were introduced over the next century.

The first popular binaural (two-ear) stethoscope was introduced in 1855 by New York physician George P. Cammann, M.D. (1804-1863). By the late 19th Century binaural stethoscopes had largely taken the place of monaural instruments, but some of the latter continued to be available through the 1920s, and a few even later. They did not come back into wide use until the 1960s, when a new type was developed that featured a custom-molded earpiece.

The tall brown stethoscope shown here is made of fruitwood, and probably dates from the late-19th Century. The short, black stethoscope was invented in 1895 by French obstetrician Adolphe Pinard (1844-1934) and is still in use today; it was donated by Dennis E. Jackson, M.D. (1878-1980).

Catalog Record: Monaural Stethoscopes Contact wlm@asahq.org for catalog record.