Wishlist: Blood Letting

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Bloodletting was the most common medical practice for centuries. It involved cutting the skin to let blood flow from the body, and it was used for a wide variety of ailments, from acne to epilepsy to smallpox. It was based on the idea that there were four humours of the body: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Diseases were thought to be the by-product of having an imbalance of humours, most commonly blood, because it was thought to be the most dominant of the four. Bloodletting was therefore used to try to balance the humours and heal patients.

There were multiple ways to drain blood, such as using simple blades, leeches, or a scarificator. A scarificator was a spring-loaded mechanism that would be held against the skin and would snap the blades out and back in. The picture above of a metal box is a scarificator. The metal tube with spikes is an artifical leech, which would puncture the skin.

Collection: Emergency Drinking Water

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This can of “Emergency Drinking Water” was made in 1953 for people to put in their bomb shelters. I bought it from Obscura, one of our favorite oddity stores. It’s in Alphabet City in New York and has many vintage pieces, taxidermy, prints, and other odds and ends. They also had a show on the Science Channel called Oddities. You can check it out on Netflix! One of the guys working there told us that a year ago he had a customer buy a can, open it and drink it! But luckily the guy was fine.

Emergency Drinking Water
A can from 1953 filled with water for bomb shelters
Size: 2 3/4in diameter x 5in tall
From Obscura
Price: $1-$10