Photographing the larynx.

French, Thomas Rushmore, 1849-1929.

Serial : Archives of Laryngology ; vol. iii.

New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1882.

Description : pages 221-222.

Subject : Medical photography.



SO far as I am aware a good photograph of the larynx has never been taken. Czermak, Cohen, Elsberg, Cutter, and Stein have given the matter some attention, but the practical result of their work I have not seen. I have with me several photographs, which are the first results of some experiments being made by Mr. George B. Brainerd, an enthusiastic amateur photographer of Brooklyn, and myself. Since my attention has been directed to this matter, owing to the want of time and sufficient sunlight, we have been able to make but very few experiments. These pictures were all taken last week with sunlight as the illuminating power, and in my estimation they go a long way to prove that, while the obstacles in photpgraphing the larynx are great, they are probably not unsurmountable.

None of the pictures show the entire larynx, but it is perfectly easy to direct the strongest illumination to any desired point and bring that out most prominently.

The one thing that seems to be most needed to make these pictures satisfactory is a stronger illumination than was used. The electric light, though accessible, could not be arranged in time for a trial. This, however, we hope to do in a week or so. It is also our intention to try the light from burning magnesian wire.

The camera used was made for the purpose. It is about the size of a segar-box, and is mounted on a tripod. The illumination was made with a plane mirror, with a central aperture 5/8 of an inch in diameter. The throat mirror is attached to a flexible rod and fastened to the top of the camera.

The photographs are all of Mr. Brainerd's larynx. The time of exposure of the plates varied from I to 4 seconds.

In the best photograph, the one marked "June 8th, 4 P.M. Instantaneous," you will see that more than a lateral half of the windpipe is very well illuminated, showing all the structures in the larynx, and those in the first inch or so of the anterior wall of the trachea.

The practical value of photographs of the larynx must be apparent to all. If an easy method of taking photographs can be developed, the pictures can be again photographed on a block and used as we now use wood-cuts. Again, the negatives, being of glass, can be used in the lantern and the pictures thrown upon the screen for class-room instruction.

My object in presenting these comparatively unsatisfactory photographs to the Association is solely to prove that it is possible to photograph the larynx.

*Read before the American Laryngological Association, session 1882.

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