25 Vintage Medical Images That Are Both Terrifying and Captivating

We all suffer from one very common thing and that is fear of dying, fear of surgeries and we hate visiting the doctors. In today’s era when medical treatments, medicines, and equipment have advanced so much, yet we pray, that the need doesn’t arise to encounter them. Just imagine those early days, when there was a scarcity of medical treatments, with plenty of sicknesses, diseases, plagues flying in the air, due to wars and battles happening all over the world. We come to understand how terrifying those early medical days were through some captivating vintage images.

Today, when we look back at all those amazing pieces of innovation of that time, which looks terrifying for us today, but for them, it was their only hope and savior. 100 years from now people will have the same viewpoints in regard to all the medical stuff of today. Hence, we need to be grateful for what is available and opt for it when required.

1. A vintage image of babies being treated for winter rickets, which involved tanning at an orphanage in Chicago in 1925.

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2. In 1920 this is how hands-off physiotherapy used to be at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

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3. This is a European birthing chair in 1750, which was also adjustable.

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4. An injured boy is wheeling around in an “invalid rolling cart” in 1915.

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5. A vintage image of a medical heroin bottle developed and sold by Bayer in 1890.

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6. A captivating image showing a  pro-PET headgear used for studying the working brain.

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7. A personal pressure chamber of Winston Churchill, which enabled him to make high-altitude flights safely.

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8. This artificial kidney machine in 1950 looks a little terrifying.

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9. To keep hold of children in one place during x-rays, this Roentgen steed was designed in 1957.


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10. A terrifying looking machine, that was used to stimulate blood circulation in the legs.

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11. Electroretinogram was an apparatus invented to measure the electric potential of the retina.

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12. A terrifying image of a woman having an electric bath in the year 1900.

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13. When the flu epidemic occurred after World War I, these were the medical flu masks used in 1919.

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14. A very terrifying looking medical equipment for measuring brain waves in the year 1940.

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15. This is a portable ‘iron lung’ in 1950, designed to enable patients to recover at home.

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16. In 1960 this is how body temperatures were measured by wearing this captivating wire suit.

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17. To attack cancerous tumors in 1955, this rotating cobalt machine was designed which would swing around patients body.


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18. A vintage image of a 2,000,000 volt Deep Therapy X-Ray machine used for treating cancer.

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19. Here’s one of the terrifying ways that doctors used to treat the mentally ill, by restraining them with wet blankets.

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20. Protective gear for a radiology nurse, in 1918.

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21. This is a captivating image of how they checked the curvature of the spine for treating scoliosis.

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22. In 1878 this Dr. Clark’s spinal apparatus was another terrifying and a practical treatment for scoliosis. 

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23. Defibrillators for people having sudden cardiac arrests have come a long way.

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24. Corset damage to a ribcage. 19th century London.

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25. Here’s a captivating medical image of the first surgeries performed in 1855 under anesthesia.


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26. In 1680 doctors were prohibited from touching women’s bodies, so anatomical models of women were used to show doctors where they were hurting.The coffin underlined that only the anatomies of dead people should be studied.

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27. This woman is too embarrassed to show her artificial leg in 1890.

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28. This prosthetic hand in 1800 shows how we advanced over the 117 years.

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29. A terrifying way to stack up polio sufferers in a multi-person iron lung in 1950.

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31. A jar for leeches was used in bloodletting, to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions in 1830.

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34. A neurological exam is conducted on a patient in 1884.

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35. An old vintage prosthetic leg.

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36. This man’s legs and one arm was crushed by a railroad car and were one of the successful triple amputation done in the US.

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37. A wax model of Madame Dimanche known as (Widow Sunday), who grew a 9.8-inch horn in 6 yrs. on her head. It was removed successfully by a famed French surgeon.

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