This is a brief history of the gynaecological tool, the speculum. Although it is not a complete journey through its history, instead it reveals what I consider to be the key moments that have informed our understanding of the tool today. This timeline takes a historic look at the design of the common speculum, but it also highlights new alternative designs of the common speculum from collectives and projects with a vision outside the medical patriarchal logic. It is an invitation to review and rethink this instrument and the mainstream gynaecological ritual.

There are 4 themes running through this timeline: ;xNLx;;xNLx;HISTORIC SPECULUM: significant moments of its formal design, predominantly by medical practitioners and designers up until 1900s.;xNLx;;xNLx;REDESIGN SPECULUM: successful contemporary examples at redesigning the speculum. This is in response to its historic design. However many of these haven’t been adopted by mainstream medicine. ;xNLx;;xNLx;SPECULATIVE DESIGN: speculative design is used to test ideas around improving societal issues, seeing what it possible and reimagining alternative futures. This theme reveals speculative specula designs that are not commonly in use, but reveal the potential for change in the regular design. ;xNLx;;xNLx;DIY SPECULUM: this offers examples of DIY specula. These have been created either as a prototype for a new speculum design by historic medical practitioners, or as a form of resistance to the common design, and the ways it is used in mainstream medicine. ;xNLx;;xNLx;This timeline was produced by Klau Chinche, GynePunk, to support a wider collection of work by the V&A Museum, London, on the design of the GynePunk 3D-printed speculum. More of this work can be found on the V&A blog: https://www.vam.ac.uk/blog/ ;xNLx;;xNLx;-------;xNLx;;xNLx;the image is from the project: "The Truncheon and the Speculum" a live video broadcast presented as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2016;xNLx;;xNLx;Written and directed by Sarah Browne + Jesse Jones;xNLx;Featuring Lisa Godson & Klau Kinky / Gynepunk;xNLx;;xNLx;https://www.sarahbrowne.info/work/the-truncheon-and-the-speculum/

0001-04-01 07:26:28

Speculum Pompei

Roman specula from Pompeii were buried by lava in 79 AD.

1300 BC-03-01 05:53:01


The history of the speculum can be found in the Hebrew Talmud, which dates back to 1300 B.C.

1808-03-01 05:20:20

Speculum Ferguson

Sir William Fergusson introduced his cylindrical glass speculum, which was bevelled and trumpet-shaped on the outside.

1818-03-01 05:53:01

Speculum Récamier

Model of Anthelme Récamier (1774-1856). Iivory and metal with ebony plug by Charriere of Paris second half 19th century.

1821-03-13 06:35:08

Speculum Recamier from Marie Boivin

Metal nickel-plated with obturator by Mathieu of Paris late 19th century.

1821-03-15 12:02:03

Speculum Marie Boivin

Marie Boivin Speculum

1830-01-01 05:53:01

Speculum Ricord

Phillip Ricord in 1830 created the bivalve speculum.

1831-08-15 21:09:15

Speculum auris, John Weiss

John Weiss' Speculum Auris was published in 1831.

1845-01-09 19:38:50

Pewter Spoons

Pewter spoons were bent to create a prototype speculum tool.

1849-03-08 07:39:54

Sims Speculum

This speculum has a terrible history behind it.

1850-03-01 05:53:01

Speculum Cusco

Cusco's speculum has a wide distribution.

1870-07-13 20:39:44

Speculum Nott

"It's a trivalve speculum, to be precise. The top branches are two tentacles, a bit broader than Scanzoni's, while the posterior leaflet is a Cusco's leaflet. It was designed to provide the exploration a larger field of vision. The posterior handle is long enough to be utilized as a clamping handle, and the opening of the handle is secured by a central screw."

1878-07-18 15:32:31

Speculum Graves

This speculum did not introduce any important novelties, it had two screws, one to widen the leaflets horizontally and the other to separate the leaflets at the tip of the leaflets, thus widening the field of vision.

1895-03-01 05:53:01

Speculum Collin

"Collin's speculum was a small, easy-to-use instrument that used a screw cockerel to gradually and painlessly open the valves; normally, the two valves were enlarged laterally, but with a 90° rotation, vaginal exploration under the "tench snout" was possible by placing the longest valve in the lower part."

1900-01-15 09:34:16

Speculum Guttmann

Guttmann's speculum allows a large and uniform vaginal dilation.

1998-04-28 19:51:32

Inflatable dual-walled Speculum

Patented desing by William T. M. Johnson 1996/1998.

2005-06-23 02:55:17

Pap DIY Kit

Prototype from Maja Kecman. "She is a graduate of the Royal College of Arts in Industrial Design Engineering UK.

2008-08-14 21:09:15

Self Smear Test Kit

Prototype of Hakan Gürsu - Industrial Designer, Founder of the company Designnobis. [2008]

2009-01-20 19:28:22

Inflatable Speculum

Inventor Steven C. Mills 2009.

2015-06-05 00:20:59

Gynepunk Speculum - GaudiLabs

First 3D printed speculum designed by Urs Gaudenz (Gaudilabs) for gynepunk project in 2015. The size of this prototype is too small.

2016-01-29 07:44:34

Speculum Lotus

Dayna Mailach 2016 LOTUS.

2016-03-12 21:44:27

GynePunk Speculum - Bolwerk

this 3d model is the improved version of the gaudilabs speculum because it has a proper size.

2016-05-12 21:09:15

Sensible Speculum - Maria Clandestinas

Speculative Critical Design by Emilia Yang 2016. 3D printed, Digital, Feminist, Political.

2019-12-01 00:27:04

Speculum Yona

Yona, health for people with vaginas.

2020-05-07 04:57:31

Speculum NuSpec

Designed by Ceek Women's Health.


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