Last Look

Medicine in 3-D

Mark Morosse

Mark Morosse

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Dermatologists were rare in the United States in the early 1900s, and general practitioners had limited dermatological training. Enter Selden Irwin Rainforth, an entrepreneurial GP from upstate New York. In 1910, he developed the Stereoscopic Skin Clinic, 128 dual-image cards that provided doctors with high-quality three-dimensional images of skin diseases. On the back of every card was a description of the ailment and suggestions for treatment.

The cards and stereoscope shown here are from the historical collections of Yale's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. The Skin Clinic was quite popular, says curator Susan Wheeler. The complete set retailed for $22; no batteries required.

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