History of the Stethoscope
Samuel Wilks, Samuel Hart
This book treats of the origin and evolution of the Stethoscope.
Instead of placing on the table every imaginary form of stethoscope
manufactured out of every possible material gathered from the shops of the
instrument-makers, I will carry you back to the origin of the stethoscope, and
you will see how, on the principle of selection and the survival of the
fittest, the primitive instruments have departed from the scene and are now
only to be found among the fossilized curiosities, the relics of former ages,
on the antiquated shelves of some very old medical practitioner. The
stethoscope, as you know, was invented by Laennec. He relates how in the year
1816 he happened to recollect a well-known fact in acoustics of solid bodies
conveying sound, and he goes on to say: "Immediately on this suggestion I
rolled a quire of paper into a kind of cylinder and applied one end of it to
the region of the heart and the other to my ear, and was not a little
surprised and pleased to find that I could thereby perceive the action of the
heart in a manner much more clear than by the application of the ear. . . .
The first instrument which I used was a cylinder of paper formed of three
quires completely rolled together and kept in shape by paste."...