And you thought the navel lint was bad

You’re going to yearn for it tragically after reading this: 20 Scary Old School Surgical Tools.

They’re not just scary looking, either. They did some truly scary things with them.

Ecraseur (1870s)
This ecraseur was used to sever hemorrhoids and uterine or ovarian tumors. The chain was looped over the mass and tightened using the ratchet, stopping the circulation of blood to the area.

I hope huge quantities of laudanum was involved, is all I can say.

Now this one is a downright revelation:

Tobacco smoke enema
Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase “blow smoke up one’s ass.”

Awesome, right? I had no idea where that phrase came from.

4 thoughts on “And you thought the navel lint was bad

  1. That is awesome! I <3 etymology. If that sort of thing interests you, I recommend “I Love it When You Talk Retro” by somebody-or-other….has lots of history and background on phrases just like that one. Good stuffs. :hattip:

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