A bristle probang used in a mental health hospital in Victoria Australia circa 1920. This instrument was designed to remove swallowed foreign bodies. The patient would be asked to swallow the tip and the flexible stem would be passed along the length of the oesophagus below the foreign body. The thumb ring and finger hold would then be pushed together causing flattening of the bristle. The instrument would then be removed, hopefully pulling out the foreign body with it. It was sometimes used to initiate regurgitation.

Physical Description

Probang is a long-handled brush with bristles gathered in at bottom into bullet shaped metal cap. Metal shaft is flexible with spring-like texture, hollow. Thin rod up middle of it is attached to shaped handle. When pulled bottom of brush is pulled up causing bristles to balloon. Handle is removable, held onto rod by small screw. Above handle is tiny circular, concave, fingerguard, with 2nd similarly shaped, but curled up at sides, 2cm further up.


Example of general medical equipment used in mental health hospitals in Victoria Australia

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