Gnathograph (Jun, 1939)

Looks like fun, doesn’t it?

Device Takes Measure of the Teeth

WITH the aid of the “gnathograph,” an instrument as mouth-filling as its name, a dentist’s patients may now be assured of a perfect fit for artificial teeth. Fitted to the jaws as shown above, the new device registers the arrangement of the teeth and the direction of the “bite,” to guide the dentist in straightening teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges, and plates. Its inventor, Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, Calif., demonstrates in the picture at the right how the instrument is then mounted for use in tooling a plate to just the right shape to give the
most comfortable fit in the mouth.

8 comments
  1. Boing Boing says: August 30, 20063:06 pm

    Nightmare dental instrument from 1939…

    Amazing to think that the gnathograph, which looks about as comfortable as Clockwork Orange’s crazy eye-opener device but for your teeth, was ever considered a good idea. But there it is, in the June, 1939 ish of Popular Science. WITH the aid of the …

  2. [...] Medgadget: Bite Down on the Gnathograph Boing Boing points us to an amazing website of past technology, called Modern Mechanix (”Yesterday’s tomorrow, today!”) and a scary dental device (isn’t that redundant) known as the gnathograph: WITH the aid of the “gnathograph,” an instrument as mouth-filling as its name, a dentist’s patients may now be assured of a perfect fit for artificial teeth. Fitted to the jaws as shown above, the new device registers the arrangement of the teeth and the direction of the “bite,” to guide the dentist in straightening teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges, and plates. Its inventor, Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, Calif., demonstrates in the picture at the right how the instrument is then mounted for use in tooling a plate to just the right shape to give the most comfortable fit in the mouth. We’re not tooth experts, but we think dentists today accomplish similar measurements with soft alginate molds. Alginate, of course, is also used in cake frosting. This, dear readers, is progress… [...]

  3. Net Crap (9/1) at Musings of a Chicagoan says: August 31, 200610:22 pm

    [...] The gnathograph … the most hideous-looking dental contraption known to man. (tags: horrifying photos) [...]

  4. Another Storm says: September 1, 20061:45 pm

    Dentist, anyone?…

    Gnathograph (June, 1939)
    Amazing the contraptions that have been built in the name of medical advancement. Apparently, this little Clockwork Orange-like gizmo helped the denist to fit dentures “more comfortably”. I think I speak for ever…

  5. Long long time ago… at says: October 10, 20069:41 am

    [...] Vielleicht sollte ich mit den täglichen Links weitermachen: Fundsachen von der “Zeit” (Die Zeitung, ihr wisst schon.), die graben immer ganz lustige Dinger aus dem Netz aus, sowas muss man an ner Uni studiert haben. Sowas wie den “Gnatographen”. Wer sich an Loituma erinnert, der wird das hier vielleicht auch mögen, ein gewisser Hang zur Sinnfreiheit vorrausgesetzt. A propos sinnfrei…und ich mein vollkommen sinnfrei: *klick*. Und noch was sinnloses, für den bösen Mann / für die böse Frau: Schwarzes Klopapier! Letztendlich noch Cute Overload… [...]

  6. DancingSamurai.ca | Miscellaneous Web Stories says: November 22, 20085:38 pm

    [...] one for my significant other: A gnathograph, some sort of weird tooth-measuring instrument from the 30s. Looks like something out of a [...]

  7. Firebrand38 says: March 29, 20106:17 am

    Here is the patent in case anyone wants to build one.

    Better pictures of the device may be found here.

  8. Dentists Glendale says: October 26, 201011:07 pm

    Those devices looks really awful and scary. Thanks God I’ve never had a chance to use those kinds of devices. Those things must be included in a Halloween party.

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