You are now in the Medical and Scientific Artifacts Gallery of the Museum of Yesterday. Please click the button at the bottom of the page to return to the museum's Great Hall and more exhibits.

A portion of the Medical and Pharmacy History display at the Museum Of Yesterday

The fields of Chemistry, Medicine and Pharmacy were important in the history of the DeMajo and Bogan families. The father of our founder, Mr. DeMajo, workd in the Electrical, Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry fields. During much of his career, he maintained a laboratory on the grounds of the family's home in New Orleans.

Additionally, Mr. DeMajo's late uncle, William J. Bogan, worked as a pharmacist in the 1930s. During World War II, he closed his pharmacy practice in order to serve the war effort as an administrator at a New Orleans aircraft factory.

Mrs. DeMajo's family was heavily into the medical, dental and scientific fields as well. Her grandfather was noted New Orleans physician Dr. Euclid Richard, M.D. who served for many years on the board of directors of Louisiana's Charity Hospital System. Other members of her immediate family were dentists, physicists and engineers.

The Museum of Yesterday's medical and scientific collection is dedicated to the memory of the men and women of science in the DeMajo, Bogan and Richard families.


One of the museum's display holdings is an authentic medical laboratory as would be found in a primary physician's office in the last century. The lab, while strictly maintained as a display artifact, is completely functional and could otherwise be used today as a working lab to perform basic medical diagnostic tests.

And yes, for those who have emailed in to ask, the portrait visible on the lab wall at the extreme right above, is an autographed photo of Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus of New Orleans TV fame. For years, Dr. Morgus, as played by New Orleans actor Sidney Noel (Rideau), conducted his bizarre "medical" experiments on Saturday night television during the 1960's as he introduced the weekly feature "horror movie" on the "House Of Shock," which aired on several local TV stations in the New Orleans market.

Tulane Medical School diploma from the year 1897, and awarded to the late Dr. Euclid J. Richard of New Orleans. Dr. Richard was a noted New Orleans physician for over 60 years, and he was a former director of Louisiana's Charity Hospital System. Dr. Richard was the grandfather of Mary DeMajo, wife of Museum Of Yesterday chairman John DeMajo.
The Louisiana Charity Hospital Pathology Lab as it appeared at the time that Dr. Richard was completing his residency as a young physician..
A 1940s model Pelton steam Autoclave that was typical in physicians' offices and small clinics of the 1940-1950s era. Unlike larger autoclaves in hospitals, which required boiler produced steam, these electric units were self-contained and portable.
Sanitary sterilization was critical to the early 20th Century physician or dentist. Many procedures were performed in the physician or dentist's office, or often in the patient's home when doctor's house calls were still the order of the day, hence it was critical for the doctor to have a readily transportable means to sterilize needles dental mirrors and picks, and other small instruments. This porcelain Renwal autoclave permitted easy local processing of instruments without the need for external steam sources. It was designed to be used in the physician or dentist's laboratory or in the patient treatment room, or it could be easily carried to a remote location where an invasive procedure might need to be performed. These units operated on regular 110 volt house current, used water as a source for steam, and could perform a routine instrument sterilization in about 20 minutes. While these units can often be found in antique stores and for sale on Ebay, This example is unique in that it was obtained from a known source and is in exceptionally good condition, having all of the accessories and manufacturer's manuals with it.
Beckman laboratory Ph meter
Natural gas operated Bunsen Burners used for generation of process heat in the laboratory. Photos above illustrate a vintage 1920s Fisher Scientific Company burner as compared to a modern version of the same instrument.



Here is a little quiz for our science-minded visitors. See if you know the answer:

Bottles which were used to store chemicals, were often made of dark brown glass instead of clear glass. Why was that done? (The answer is at the bottom of this page.)


Antique ground glass hypodermic syringe from 1930's. In actual use, a steel needle would be attached to the tip of this device for injection of medication into the muscle or veins of the patient, or to draw blood for laboratory testing. In the practice of medicine today, these glass syringes have been replaced by pre-sterilized and packaged single-use disposable syringes and needles. This syringe would have required a trip through the Autoclave for sterilizing after each use. The Yale syringe below is a later (1940-50's) version of a hypodermic syringe.
While this ominous looking instrument could have provoked a bit of fear in a patient expecting a hypodermic injection, it is actually a simple syringe for irrigation of the ears, or for use during a surgical procedure where internal irrigation or suction was required. Ringed syringes were used in procedures where careful positioning of the discharge or needle was required, such as spinal taps and deep organ injections,
Examples of Sphygmomanometers (for checking blood pressure). The wood cased unit on the left dates to 1946, whereas the modern all metal unit on the right was manufactured in the 1980s. These instruments were extremely accurate because they relied on gravity and the weight of mercury, rather than on springs and bourdon tubes such as their modern day counterparts. In fact, the courts recognized them as the "last word" for accuracy when blood pressure and stroke diagnosis was an issue in litigation. Unfortunately, the health care industry has been forced to phase out this type of instrument because of the mercury required for their operation.
Antique laboratory Bell Jar used for placing materials into a vacuum for testing and analysis.
Various instruments from the doctor's practice.
A 1940s set of gynecological instruments from the collection of a practicing midwife of that era.
A Schiotz Tonoscope which was used to measure eye pressure (Glaucoma) prior to the introduction of modern computerized optical eammination instruments.
The scientific and medical fields were responsible for the design and production of a number of interesting glass vessels and related tubing and valves This specific gravity separator can be used to extract heavier liquids which fall out of suspension in a chemical mixture. These devices were widely used in compound pharmacies and chemistry laboratories as an alternative to the centrifuge.
A 1912 optical scope manufactured by Henry L. DeZeng (1883-1929) Company of Camden, NJ. DeZeng's company became part of American Optical in the year 1925. In the late 1800's through the early 1920's, DeZeng was a leading pioneer in optical and ophthalmologic instruments for physicians and surgeons.
Dr. DeZeng's basic optical scope design was later improved upon by technology from the Welch-Allyn Company, still today a major manufacturer of physician's test instruments. This rechargeable set of DeZeng scopes remained state-of-the-art until the early 21st Century when the "grain-of-wheat" bulbs, used in these instruments since the days of Dr. DeZeng, were replaced by light emitting diodes.
This tangent galvanometer, built in the mid-1800s by the Milvay Scientific Instrument Company of Chicago, is an example of an early laboratory instrument that advanced the study of electricity in the days before the invention of the light bulb.
This Leeds & Northrup Company Model 8667 Galvanometer was used to make extremely accurate measurements of electromotive force in laboratory conditions. This item was a donation to the museum by Mr. Jim Lewis.
Medical apparatus that uses Chloride Silver batteries to generate high-frequency electrical impulses.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, it was a common belief that inducing high frequency electrical charges through the body would cure or prevent certain diseases. While disproved to some extent by modern science, similar devices are still made today and used in the treatment of certain degenerative nerve disorders. The unit pictured in the two photos above, dates to around 1910.
The Birtcher Hyfrecator was the first compact radio frequency scalpel. This type of instrument dates to the late 1940s, however, many present day physicians and dermatologists are still using the Hyfrecator. Bircher later sold the manufacturing rights for the Hyfrecator to Conned, and the modern instruments are now solid-state devices. The original Bircher units can still be found in the offices of many medical practices that were set up in the Mid-Twentieth Century. The museum's Hyfrecator is in mint condition. It has been restored and is in fully operating condition.
A very rare Nineteenth Century hand-operated laboratory vacuum pump.
Large pharmacist's balance scale from early 1900's.
This is a laboratory type balance beam scale from mid-20th Century. It is a highly accurate pre-digital era scale that is suitable for most scientific purposes.
A 1939 Welder Swing Psychrometer used to measure relative humidity
This is a small apothecary scale from the late 1800's
Antique physician's microscope manufactured in 1902
A Perkin-Elmer attenuated Spectroscopy meter which is used to measure composition of materials by subjecting the material to infra-red radiation.
"Bacterial Laboratory" grade Bausch & Lomb stereo-optic microscope from circa 1920.

One exhibit in our scientific collection that draws a lot of interest from visitors is our "Jacob's Ladder." Based on the Biblical story of Jacob's dream about a ladder to Heaven, this electrical demonstration illustrates how the ionization of air lowers its electrical resistance, thereby allowing a small spark to become a large raging arc of electricity. The devices were popular in the early Frankenstein theme motion pictures, however, the Jacob's Ladder illustrates an important physics lesson

We invite you to CLICK THE ICON ABOVE to see the museum's Jacob's Ladder in action.

Surveyor's compass dating to 1890's.
1920's Surveyor's Level used by the Illinois Central Railroad engineering department
Answer to the above quiz about brown chemical storage bottles: The brown bottles were used to store chemicals that would ordinaruly respond to or be degraded by exposure to light.
Please Continue your tour. Click the button below and you will be returned to the "Great Hall" for more gallery selections
Copyright 2014 The Museum Of Yesterday, Chesterfield, VA USA