6 Amazing Equipment Advancements in History

6 Amazing Equipment Advancements in History

Medical technology has seen its fair share of milestones over the years. To go back in history and study the long list of innovations that have changed the course of medicine can be quite eye opening. Modern medical equipment is so advanced compared to many of the products and procedures of yesteryear with today’s patient in a much better position for receiving care and comfort compared to patients past. 

Here are some of the more notable advancements in the past century or two that have paved the way for today’s medical technology:

Flexible Catheter

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin invented a flexible catheter for his brother John who suffered from severe bladder stones. Using hinged metal segments, this new catheter was a lot less uncomfortable that the hard, stiff tubes that were previously used to jam into the bladder. No doubt John Franklin was grateful for his brother’s efforts on his behalf.

The Stethoscope

A French physician by the name of Rene Laennec found himself at a loss when trying to tend to a particularly large patient whose heart he could not easily hear by putting his ear to her chest. To prevent this inability from occurring with his other patients, Dr. Laennec invented the first stethoscope in 1815 which was a wooden, trumpet-shaped tube.


Thanks to Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a German physicist in 1895, today’s doctors and nurses can determine what ails their patients with the help of X-Ray technology. This invention is among the most commonly used of modern medical equipment and has helped to save the lives of countless patients since its remarkable introduction.


Fast forward to 1936 where Dr. Albert S. Hyman demonstrated his invention: the first pacemaker which was 10 inches long and weighed less than a pound but was able to supply the heart with a current of voltage. Though his first pacemaker didn’t exactly have the best track record, with only 2 of his 7 experiments with his new invention proving successful, today’s pacemaker is much more advanced.

Mechanical Heart

Henry Opitek was the first lucky patient to receive the assistance of a mechanical heart during an operation in 1952. This heart machine was actually manufactured by General Motors and made it possible for Dr. Forest Dewey Dodrill to successfully repair Mr. Opitek’s mitral valve which allowed him to live into his 70’s.

Fetal Ultrasound

Pregnancy was forever changed after Dr. Edward Hon of Yale used a Doppler monitor on a woman in order to detect her baby’s heartbeat. Although ultrasound’s basic principles had been known for more than a century prior, due to the work of Dr. Christian Andreas Doppler of Sweden, this was the first time that Doppler technology had been used in a prenatal situation. Now ultrasounds are used to hear the heartbeat and check the growth of millions of babies every year.

Though the history of medical equipment includes many outstanding inventions such as these, there are lots of smaller developments in medical equipment that have brought lots of comfort and ease to patients in need of extra assistance. Orbit Medical provides many of these products to make life easier and allow greater independence for those who use them.

For information about our up-to-date medical equipment, visit our website today!

Give a comment