more information on the York Castle Museum collection
Visit to York Castle Museum 25th Aug 2015
My visit was arranged by email with Robert Wake (Rob). Robert is a curatorial facilitator at the Museum and hosted my visit.

Rob had arranged for a private viewing room and also had all the ear trumpets ready to view and handle.

The collection has 10 trumpets and a pair of auriscopes.

(There are also some early electric and electronic aids about six in all. These include 2 Medresco aids. )

I took some pictures for the purpose of these notes.

Each image has a few words about the item.
The YCM photos, ref nos and descriptions are all courtesy of the York Castle Museum
Dates shown are my best suggestions and as always subject to both scrutiny and discussion

I am always grateful to museum curators for the kind assistance given when arranging and making visits.
YCM photos YCM ref YCM
note on item
date my photos
click to enlarge
AA114 A hearing aid or conversation tube. It has an ivory earpiece and funnel to speak into. The pliable tube is covered in golden velvet and webbing.
Conversation tube

This is remniscent of an early Rein, the elegant earpiece is very similar to branded versions.

Branding is usually applied to the horn which in this case appears to have been replaced with a bakelite or other plastic part, hence the brand is missing.

The braided tube seems to be better attached to the horn than the earpiece suggesting it is also later.
Ivory part 1860

remainder 1890-
AA204.1-2 A tin ear trumpet.  It is composed of a tin cylindrical funnel narrowing and twisted towards the end. This is YORCM : AA204.2.  The top section has a funnel with an oval base with a semi-circular cover.  The stamped inscription on the funnel is 'Arnold & Sons John Bell & Croyden Ltd Surgical Instrument Manufacturer 50-52 Wigmore London W.1'.

Quite large banjo, this one has an unusual label.

The brand is Arnold & Sons with John Bell & Croydon which helps us to date it.

I am sending my photo to the Thackray for their label database.

The banjo has a ribbon loop which is not often found on this type.



cropped - courtesy YCM
2001.3961 A silver plated (?) conversation aid with an ivory end.  The ivory end with a bent tube is connected to an 'elephant style' movable tube.  This in turn is connected to a funnel with an oval bowl style top that is partly covered.  On the funnel is the stamped inscription 'Hawksley 357 Oxford St London'.
Hawksley conversation tube

Possibly silver plated, this is a well known item with a Miss Greene style horn. The item is similar to my # 36 but the construction detail varies and this is 30% larger in horn diameter.
AA113 A conversation tube or hearing aid in a black leather pouch. It has a pliable metal tube and screw-on mouthpiece and earpiece.
Conversation Tube

This is a well known design. Until I saw this one I had not realised that they came in different sizes. This is a very small horn. The tube and earpiece are typical. A soft case is included but the closure is missing.

My collection has an item (#134) with a similar design. Most of these were branded Luer or Drapier.
AA214 A silver plated ear trumpet, known as a 'double trumpet' the tube from the ear doubles back in a U-turn with a circular aperture; fixed over this opening is a large hood that is then facing to the front of the user and is covered by a flower petal shaped grille. The hood therefore acts as a collective sounding board for conversation and throws the sound  back into the tube leading to the user's ear.
London Dome

Although fairly battered, this example describes a typical trumpet of the Lodon Dome type.

The grille is very similar to my item # 121 by F C Rein

The dome has an integral ear tip which is also unusual, normally these have an additional plastic or ivory part.
2008.375 A hearing cell in a card case with a green label. It is described as 'The most perfect hearing device for the DEAF'. The cell has a glass bulb and filament. Magniphone

I have not seen one of these quack items. They do not appear in any of my catalogues.

Complete with a nice tubular box this entirely useless item must have sold for good money. I have found no other record of it's existence.

S G Brown made a Magniphone (one in Science Museum) so did a Chicago company called Magniphone.
  This cell is made by J W Greenwood Skircoat Green Halifax
who also makes the "Magniphone"

The most perfect hearing device for the DEAF
AA203 A tin ear trumpet, painted black.

The Bonnafont folded item is also unusual.

It appears to be of an early design.

The construction is slightly simpler than the later ones.

The shape is favoured by Stille of Sweden and the gold coloured decoration is remniscent of Scandinavian work.

I have not seen the decoration elsewhere.
AA247 A pair of silver ear tubes in a fitted, leather covered case with hinge and decorative catch.
Ear tubes

There are two pairs of these in the collection.

They differ only in the style of their small boxes.

There is no branding or the usual silver anotation.

A pair of silver ear tubes in a leather case with brass fittings

see above 1910    
AA215.1-2 A pair of ear trumpets, one for right ear and one for left. They are coiled round in an oval, gradually getting wider at the end. Made of copper and ivory.
Rein auricles

These are a classic Rein item.

They are marked 108 Strand which narrows the dating.

Originally they would have had a gold plated finish but these show little sign of any gold left.
F C Rein & Son Patentees sole inventors & manufacturers 108 Strand London

Ear Trumpets, the Packington Collection
SY10, Shropshire, UK