Operating table, Europe, 1881-1910
Operating tables may have had multiple uses. It is possible this example doubled as an obstetrical table because it has nickel-plated stirrups. These may have held the mother’s feet during childbirth. The padded table folds upward to create a backrest and the bottom shelf slides out, possibly to hold instruments. The table was used at Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, a teaching hospital built by Louis XIV the 'Sun King' in 1656 on the site of a former gunpowder factory. Before this, the site housed prostitutes, the poor, and people with disabilities and mental illnesses. By the late 1700s, the Salpêtrière had become the world's largest hospital.
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Glossary: operating table
A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.
trial term S&H
Glossary: obstetrical examination table