Anatomy taught by human dissection is an important part of medical training for surgeons, and postmortem examination provides vital clues to the pathology of diseases and thus their treatment.
Professional Stand No. 1 by Walter Bullock with oil lamp and bull's eye magnigfier by Collins (ca. 1880)
Johannes and Zacharias Jansen of Middleburg, Holland invented the microscope in 1590. It was later modified by Galileo, and popularized by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), a Dutch draper and part time janitor who ground lenses for his early microscopes in order to count threads. Medical applications for the microscope began in the seventeenth century when Pierre Borel first noted abnormalities in specimens of blood, and Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) first suggested that the organisms he observed could be the cause of disease. This is a fine American made microscope manufactured at the end of the nineteenth century.
Civil War embalming scene with surgeon Richard Burr (ca. 1864)
Embalming dates back to the ancient Egytians, though not many advances took place until the nineteenth century when a former New York City coroner, Dr. Thomas Holmes, perfected a number of embalming techniques and is now know as the “Father of Modern Embalming.” Holmes’ advances were just in time for the Civil War and allowed many families to have their loved ones transported home by train rather than to be buried on the battlefield, as had been the federal regulation.