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What did doctors carry in their travel bags in 1916?

Posted by Jack on December 23, 2022
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    It's hard to imagine that doctors had to suffer through many of the same problems that we do today. They didn't have fancy electronic devices and they were often forced to travel with their families while they worked in far-off places. But what did they carry in their bags? We'll tell you right now: not much! Let's take a look at some of the things that doctors would have been carrying around with them on their travels over 100 years ago...

    Doctors often traveled with their families, which meant they had to carry all the comforts of home with them.

    Dr. William Halsted, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, traveled to Europe with his wife and two children. He had other members of his household travel with him as well:

    • A butler named James McBurney who was responsible for handling their domestic needs while abroad (including ordering food and arranging for accommodations)
    • A maid named Annie Walsh who helped care for Dr. Halsted's wife during their trip

    Traveling to Europe was no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity for many doctors.

    Traveling to Europe was no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity for many doctors. Some traveled to Europe to treat patients, some went for conferences and other educational purposes, and others simply needed some time away from home.

    What did these doctors carry in their travel bags?

    Medicine was advancing at a fast pace, but the change in technology and equipment was slow.

    The war was a double-edged sword for medicine. It slowed down the advancement of technology, as many doctors and scientists were enlisted in the military. It also caused a shortage of supplies, space and doctors.

    Sometimes doctors were called upon to treat civilians during wars, but that required special permission from the army.

    The army didn't want the doctors to be distracted from their military duties, so they required special permission from the army before allowing them to treat civilians. They also wanted to keep the doctors safe and close to the front lines.

    Doctors often carried small guns for protection.

    Doctors often carried small guns for protection. Guns were a good way to keep the peace in hospitals, but they could also be used for hunting or self-defense. Doctors had to be careful about how they carried their guns, because it might cause problems with the law if they didn't do things correctly.

    It wasn't easy being a doctor in 1916

    It wasn't easy being a doctor in 1916. Medicine was still relatively primitive, and it was hard to keep up with the latest medical advances. The risks involved in treating patients were high, as was the equipment they had at their disposal. And then there were travel conditions: most doctors travelled by horse-drawn carriage or train, which made for long journeys that could be uncomfortable and even dangerous if there was an accident during your trip.

    Surgical instruments

    The surgical instruments used in 1916 were made of metal and sterilized with boiling water. The surgeon would place them in a sterilizing tray, which had holes for drainage and held the instruments in place. This tray was then placed into an autoclave bag (a type of pressure cooker), which would be heated to high temperatures for several minutes before being allowed to cool down slowly over several hours.

    Blood transfusion tubes

    Blood transfusion tubes are used to transfer blood from one person to another.

    They can be made of glass, rubber, or plastic; the latter two materials are more commonly used today. Blood transfusion tubes have been in use since 1916 and continue to be an important part of modern medicine because they make it possible for doctors and nurses to give patients extra blood if they need it while also preventing diseases like hepatitis B from spreading through shared needles.

    Needles and sutures

    In 1916, doctors carried needles and sutures in their travel bags. Needles were made of stainless steel and packaged in sterile packaging. Sutures were also made of stainless steel or silk or catgut, and they were sterilized in an autoclave (a machine that uses steam to sterilize instruments).

    Scalpels, scissors, forceps, retractors and clamps

    In 1916, doctors didn't carry everything you'd find in a modern-day medical bag. Instead of scalpels and sutures, they carried scalpels (or knives), scissors (for cutting sutures), forceps (or tweezers) and retractors. A retractor is used to keep tissues apart so that you can see what's happening during an operation; it can also be used as an instrument for holding tissue in place during surgery. A clamp is similar to a clamp in woodworking: it holds things together tightly so they don't move around while you're working on them

    Athletic supporters and jockstraps

    Athletic supporters were used to support the testicles. A jockstrap is a device worn by athletes to support their genitalia, particularly when they're playing sports such as football or soccer. Jockstraps are also called "athletic supporters," and they consist of a leather pouch that holds the testicles in place and prevents them from bouncing around during physical activity.

    Jockstraps were invented in 1874 by Caleys Gordon Haskell (yes, that's his real name). He patented his design for an adjustable strap for holding up one's trousers with suspenders attached directly to it; this was meant as an alternative to suspenders alone or suspenders with belts attached further down on each side of one's waistline--both options being less secure than what Haskell had designed because both methods involved two separate components rather than one single piece of material like his invention did.[2]

    The doctors of 1916 carried all the things you'd expect them to carry.

    The doctors of 1916 carried all the things you'd expect them to carry. Surgeons carried surgical instruments, needles and sutures in their travel bags. They also carried athletic supporters and jockstraps because they needed to protect their testicles from injury during sporting activity.


    Doctors had a lot of responsibilities in 1916. They had to treat patients, keep up with the latest advances in medicine and technology, travel often in difficult conditions, and sometimes even be prepared for war. It's hard to imagine what life would be like today if we still lived in this era!


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