Thursday, 19 August 2010

My Science-Themed Op Shop Find

As my Australian readers may know, this week is National Science Week in Australia.  Once upon a time I would have spent this week listening to special talks and seminars and helping out at the Peter Mac science week stand at the Melbourne Museum.  Those days are past, but I thought I would share with you a science (okay, technically a medical) find from my local op shop!

image vintage nurse's medical dictionary bailliere's

Because of my vintage book obsession which I blogged about here, and my growing art print range, the book section is often the first place I head to in any op shop I visit.  On a recent visit I found this cute little book in the dictionary/encyclopaedia section.  It is entitled "Bailliere's Nurses' Medical Dictionary" and was printed in 1950.  Some of the material in this little dictionary took me aback (the antibiotics section was an eye opener!) and there were loads of medical terms of which I have never heard, or ever plan to, for that matter.  Inside I also found medical illustrations, tables of tests one can run to diagnose various diseases and quaint old-fashioned advertisements such as the ones below. 

image vintage chlorodyne advertisement j collis browne

vintage advertisement bengue's balsam

According to the dictionary's definition, chlorodyne is "A proprietary sedative mixture of choloroform, cannabis, indica, etc.  Used for pain and flatulence."  Erm...right.  My limited experience in the science and medical worlds makes me very glad that I live now in the 21st century rather than back in 1950, a mere 60 years ago, when chloroform and cannabis were administered so freely in combination!  I actually did a quick Google search for chlorodyne and found out that it apparently contained such high levels of opiates that it became addictive and caused deaths due to overdose (eek).  Needless to say, it is no longer a commonly used medication!

So there you are, my little nod to my "past life" and to National Science Week.  If you are doing, or have done, anything interesting for national science week, feel free to share it here, I am sure I can't be the only science geek who reads my blog, LOL!


  1. I love old medical books!

    A while ago I found a great one 'A short practice of surgery' with some reeeaaaalllly gross pictures hahah. It was printed in 1956

    Gaby xoxo

  2. What a find! Lucky you, and thank god medicine has advanced so much since then.


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