Radium Ampoule, Longer

Radium Ampoule, Longer

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This ampoule was removed from a display of objects (see 1993.0262.13) donated to the New York Academy of Medicine by Dr. Robert Abbe [b. April 13, 1851; d. March 7, 1928], a surgeon and early proponent of radium therapy. The display panel described the ampoule's contents, as "small tube of weak radium 20 milligrammes [sic] strength 200,000. (3 milligrams pure rad. brom.)" Abbe quantified strength of his radium samples with respect to the radioactivity of uranium. (In this case 1:200,000.)
In 1903, Dr. Abbe started experimenting with radium on seeds, animals, himself, and patients, becoming one of the first American physicians to do so. He found success in treating some abnormal growths and cancers, publishing his findings and becoming an authority in the field of radiotherapy. Abbe was a surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital in New York. Near the end of his life, Abbe suffered from the effects of aplastic anemia, likely caused by years of radium exposure, requiring regular blood transfusions.
Abbe, R., “Radium and Radio-Activity," Yale Medical Journal 10 (1904) p. 436-447.
Gibson, C., "Robert Abbe 1851-1928," Annals of Surgery 88 (1928) p. 794-797.
Stark, R., "Robert Abbe: Pioneer in Plastic Surgery," Bull. N. Y. Acad. Med. 31 (1955) p. 927-950.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Pharmaceutical, Vial of
ampoule, radium therapy
Other Terms
Pharmaceutical, Vial of; Pharmaceutical; Powder
Physical Description
radium (overall material)
light brown (overall color)
glass (overall material)
estimated from images: 1 9/16 in x 3/16 in; 3.9878 cm x.4826 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of New York Academy of Medicine, through Steven A. Pelovitz, Vice President for Management and Fiscal Affairs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Pharmacy
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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