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Throat Pump

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This throat pump, probably dating from the 1920s, was used to spray iodine on infected throats. Iodine is element that was discovered in 1812 by a Paris saltpeter manufacturer and christened in 1813 by the French chemist Gay Lussac "Iode" after the color of its vapor (the Greek word "ioeides" means violet). It was first used to reduce goiters, which were a result of iodine deficiency. Its first use as an antiseptic came in the 1870s, and along with Joseph Lister's studies on the importance of a sterile environment to prevent infection led to iodine's wide use as a disinfectant. Of course, iodine has a truly unfortunate taste and is painful on sensitive skin, but it remains an extremely effective disinfectant.


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