George III silver tongue scraper.
Made circa 1800, not marked.
Height 4" (10cm).
(This item is SOLD, please return to the STOCK page).
(Taken from "Antique Medical Instruments" by Elizabeth Bennion).
In days when a bottle of claret a day was both modest and commonplace,
the use of a tongue scraper the next morning was desirable.
'A furred tongue', wrote a Victorian writer, 'is very common in the case of people who smoke much.
When the fur is white, thickish, and tolerably uniform and moist, it usually indicates an
open, active state of the fever, in which, though the symptoms may possibly be violent,
there is little danger of any lurking mischief or of a malignant tendency.
A yellowish hue of the fur is commonly indicative of disordered liver.
A brown or black tongue is a bad sign, usually indicating a
low state of the system and a general condition of depression.'
Tongue scrapers, it will be seen, were much needed and appeared either as
part of a toilet service, or separately from the early eighteenth century onwards.
They were made of silver, gold, silver-gilt, tortoiseshell, and ivory.
They were formed from a strip of pliable silver or tortoiseshell either with a finial
at each end and
intended to be bent into a bow between the thumb and fingers,
or they were already caught into a half-hoop with a handle.
Other types included the 'wishbone' variety and a blade set at
right angles to the handle as in an infant's 'pusher'.
Silver tongue scrapers, if marked, exist from about 1800 onwards and
often come in
cases with a toothbrush and powder box.
The dental Profession in the United States is now, once again, advocating their use.
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