Two Curios 19th Century Bronze Medical Enema Syringes


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870-90
Compact Length: 14.5 inches (larger) & 17 inches (smaller)
Extended Length: 25 inches (larger) & 23 inches (smaller)
Base diameter: 2.1 inches (each)

Each attractively decorated, one with stylized flowers and the other with gadrooning, the bronze now displaying a beautiful deep patina. The enemas remain uncleaned and are in totally original condition, whilst the plunging mechanisms are in tact. The quality of these syringes points to them having once been owned by relatively well off Victorian owners.

Often confused with drenching guns or veterinary syringes, enemas were one of the faddy "cure alls" towards the end of the 19th Century and were very popular. Many Victorians considered enemas a good habit, plus there were few public facilities and there were no toilets on trains or stagecoaches. The members of many families had one enema session weekly; it was a conventional health practice.

These are rather esoteric items though they have an important part to play in creating a complete picture of medicine in Victorian times. Attractive now as artifacts, they are certainly far too nice to.…ahem. Yes, well.