'Wishbone' contraceptive device

Circa 1920s
This type of gold 'wishbone' contraceptive is a cervico-uterine device developed in Germany around 1880 and patented by Carl Hollweg in 1902. Intra-cervical devices came into use as a contraceptive towards the end of the 1800s. The flat end of the stem pessary sat against the vaginal wall with a stem protruding into the uterus through the cervix. The device works after conception. It stops a newly fertilised embryo implanting and growing in the lining of the uterus. Cervico-uterine devices were mostly surpassed by the intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD sits entirely within the uterus, reducing the risk of bacterial transfer between the cervix and uterus.
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Object detail

copper or possibly gold plated metal
6.0 x 3.0 cm
Accession Number
Object Type
Medical History Museum Category


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