An X-ray vision

I am not madIn December 1863 a New York physician, Samuel Ward Francis, sat down to write a letter to The Medical and Surgical Reporter. The medical achievements of Dr Francis – whatever they may have been – are forgotten today, but his work as an indefatigable amateur inventor lives on in the records of the US Patent Office.  I’ve collected several … Read more

An exercise in futility

The steam carriageThis blog usually deals with medical matters; but I couldn’t resist reproducing this article from the first number of the American Medical and Philosophical Register, published in 1814, even though it was contributed to the non-medical section of the journal. An engineer called James Sharples – holder of a patent relating to steam engines – contributed an essay about … Read more


The Athenaeum tries a spot of prognostication in 1854:

If we may judge by our library table, homoeopathy is not in 1854 what it was in 1851.  However frequently new delusions arise to occupy the human mind, there is a sure and  inevitable law by which the old ones die.

Homoeopathy is evidently hastening towards that limbo of forgetfulness into Read more