Journey Inside a Cavernous Collection of Antique Medical Devices

Shaunacy Ferro

For the average person, seeing masks designed to ward off the bubonic plague might make the annual flu shot or routine eye dilation more interesting. But for true connoisseurs of weird historical science and technology, Steve Erenberg's wonderful collection of long-obsolete medical and scientific objects and early technology is even more illuminating.

Erenberg has been collecting sham medical devices and incredibly antiquated scientific technology for more than three decades. In the video above, Science Friday took a tour of the mini-museum of oddities and spoke with Erenberg about why exactly he owns such long-obsolete medical and scientific objects, including a life-size, anatomically correct papier-mâché horse, a vibrating chair used to treat mental illnesses, and an antique shock machine.

Many of the objects may look laughable now, but 21st-century medical equipment might someday look backward too, according to Erenberg. “We always think state-of-the-art, that it will never get more modern than that, but it’s always changing,” he says.

Images of his collection are online at And if you're really into the scientific research of yore, take a look at some of these collections of old brains.

[h/t: Boing Boing]

Banner image screenshot via YouTube