Hospital Grinder


One of the many great things about New York City is the plethora of sidewalk vendors.  Recently, amidst a pile of used clothes, I saw this beautifully polished aluminum machine.  I sent some photos to mixed media artist and pathologist  Dr. Charlie Weissman and he speculates:

Never seen this exact machine, but probably dates from the era before most equipment was disposable, now it is easier to dispose of much equipment rather than try to get it sterilized completely and reconditined and sharpened. Looks too large for blood-drawing needles, but there are a variety of round penetrating devices– trocars  and such– for drawing off thicker fluids from various body sites, which could have been reused.  Bone-marrow biopsy needles could have this caliber.  Large biopsy needles for liver and prostate used to be reused. Modern  breast biopsy and brain biopsy needles can be large but they are not reused.  Looks a little large for spinal needle. Interesting.

The arm is adjustable for length, and simple slides back and forth to switch from one wheel to the next, which are three different grits.   It operates at a fairly slow speed, and since the motor is not shielded from the wheels, I’m guessing it was used dry. The clamping mechanism near the wheels forms a 90 degree angle, so it was likely used for round objects.  It even came in a velvet lined, fake leather grain covered wood box with a handle. Stylistically, it looks circa. 1930’s to me.  All for $10.00!

4 Replies to “Hospital Grinder”

  1. How long ago do you thing equipment like this became disposable? i found this interesting. My brother-in-law does Chicago historical tours. I know he will find this informative.

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