Thingamajig – The mystery returns

by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant

Well, to borrow a sound bite from “Car Talk“, this chump is stumped[2].

The problem with identifying unidentified objects is that it’s very difficult to research them if you don’t know what they are.  It’s a little bit like asking how a word is spelled and being told to look it up in the dictionary–how does that work?

I’ve enlisted the aid of several museums of medical paraphernalia, so we may get a straight answer yet, but until then . . . the best guess I can make is that it’s an inhaler of some sort.  The cotton wool could have been soaked in a volatile compound, which was then inhaled through a mouthpiece or small hose attached to the fitting on the side of the cylinder.

It vaguely resembles the Worst’s inhaler and Corona inhaler seen on the Inhalatorium website[3], although I cannot be sure that they operate in the same way.

[1] Car Talk, NPR.

[2] Car Talk, Stump the Chumps

[3] Inhalatorium.

Posted in Artifacts, Manuscript Collection, Thingamajig

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