Morton's Ophthalmoscope

Catalogue Number: 1543
Morton's Ophthalmoscope
Category: Equipment
Sub-Category: Ophthalmoscope
Designer/inventor: Andrew Stanford Morton
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: c1890
Time Period: 19th C
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: London
Publisher/Manufacturer: Curry & Paxton
Description Of Item: Cased non luminous direct and indirect ophthalmoscope with Morton head. Two silvered glass mirrors of different focal lengths for direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy. Large selection of lenses can be rotated into position. Stamped MORTON'S OPHTHALMOSCOPE/ CURRY & PAXTON LONDON. Bone handle screws off for storage in case and includes small colour test on end. Handle tip is missing. Condensing lens included but not original.Head: L: 11.6 cm x W: 3.1 cmCase: L:11.7 cm x W: 5.6 cm
Historical Significance: Helmholtz was the first to observe the human fundus with his Augenspiegel in 1851. Morton's ophthalmoscope was in the Curry and Paxton pricelist in London in 1883. Morton described his model to the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom in January 1885. Morton used the lens arrangement that another ophthalmologist, John Couper, had reported in 1883. In 1882 George Lindsay Johnson of London introduced an ophthalmoscope with two mirrors fixed to a plate that could be rotated around a central pivot. In this way each mirror could be positioned quickly behind the sight hole with the smaller 3-inch focal length mirror rotatable around itself for left or right positioning. Later variations of this model featured three or four mirrors, in pairs back-to-back. Andrew Stanford Morton also of London adopted this system and popularised the non-illuminous and self-illuminated ophthalmoscopes bearing his name for over 40 years, but it was not so much the mirror arrangement as the elongated track of lenses for which he is best known.
How Acquired: Donated by Ross Harris ACO member. Gift from widow of ophthalmologist Percy Cowan
Date Acquired: August 2010
Condition: Good but condensing lens is not original
Location: Archive Office. Cabinet One Drawer 8

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