Laryngeal bougie, late 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made of wood, metal and gum elastic, this instrument posibly belonged to Sir Morell MacKenzie (1837-1892). It is a thin, flexible device used for exploring and dilating the throat in order to carry out an examination or to clear obstructions. MacKenzie was a pioneering specialist in diseases of the throat. He gained a reputation acros Europe as an expert in his field, and in 1887 was summoned to treat the crown prince of Germany (later the emperor Frederick III), although MacKenzie was ultimately unable to save him.