Historical information

This appliance can used in two different ways: externally to spray antiseptic mist on to the skin or internally on the back of the throat. Insufflator is the clinical term for spraying. This was used by a midwife in the care of mother and newborn babies. (Becton Dickson)


Mary Howlett (1840-1922) began practising as a country midwife in 1866 in the western district of Victoria. She qualified as a 'ladies monthly nurse' in 1887 and continued to practise as a nurse and midwife until 1920.She began her six months training at the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital. She was known by many as 'Auntie', and her career spanned more than 50 years. Mrs Howlett's midwifery box and contents were given to Dr Frank Forster, and he donated them to the museum collection in 1993.

Physical description

White metal applicator, probably made from nickel plate. Consists of three sections - application cup (.1), watch spring attached to a piston and flange (.2), and a section of metal connection (.3). Applicator was originally attached to a glass tube mounted on black vulcanite by metal connections of various sizes. Inscribed 'BECTON DICKSON & CO/PAT. DEC. 06", "RUTHERFORD N.J."