Five Miniature Pilling & Son Medical Instruments

Five Miniature Pilling & Son Medical Instruments


Five Miniature Pilling & Son Medical Instruments




G.P. Pilling & Son

Country of manufacture

North America


G.P. Pilling and Son was established  in Philadelphia by George P. Pilling in 1854.The firm went on to become a major manufacturer of medical instruments and remains in operation today, in an amalgamated form, having been  acquired by Teleflex in 1991. In the early 20th century their forte was stethoscopes and endoscopic equipment, especially those endoscopic instruments designed by Chevalier Jackson. They also produced a number of miniature instruments and often boxed them with a clever saying on the inside of the lid. They were probably promotional items, not unlike the ball-point pens, paperweights and t-shirts, that pharmaceutical firms give doctors today. Edmundson, in his superb book on American surgical instrument makers, shows a cased miniature percussing hammer by Pilling, the interior lid label reading “STOP KNOCKING”. He dates it c1940 (1997:262). We think his dating is incorrect; we believe that all of these miniature Pilling instruments were made C1900-1920. 

This C1900  nasal speculum  is a fully operative scale model. It is marked with a January 3, 1900 patent date (US 641036). The patent is actually for the hinge that joins the two parts of the speculum and it was used on other Pilling instruments as well. It is a lovely little thing and quite rare. Both instrument and case are in excellent condition. $295.00

This C1905 miniature Graves vaginal speculum was offered by R.S. Guildford, a NYC retailer of Pilling medical instruments and orthopedic appliances. It is a fully operative scale model. Guildford’s advertising in the medical literature would seem to indicate that this company was in business from around 1903 to 1910. It is marked on the base of the bottom blade: “G.P. PILLING & SON, CO. PHILA”. Both instrument and case are in excellent condition. By way of a postscript: The Graves’ speculum was introduced c1879 and is still being sold today. Not many medical instruments can claim so long a history of continuous use! $495.00

  miniature Chevalier gastroscope made by Pilling around 1910. It is engraved “PILLING” and “DR. MILLER” , the good doctor was likely the recipient of this little instrument. $295.00​​

A surgical retractor marked “PILLING & SON, PHILA.” $295.00

A miniature folding tongue depressor with a February 6, 1901 patent date. Also marked “PILLING & SON, PHILA.” $295.00.


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Dealer information

M and R Gordon

Michael and Roberta Gordon have been dealing in medical and dental antiques for more than four decades. They have helped build a number of major private collections and have contributed to the holdings of many museums. They also deal in other scientific and technology related items, including calculating instruments, office machines, patent models and wine-related accessories such as corkscrews. ROBERTA GORDON IS A SKILLED RESTORER WHO CAN HELP YOU WITH ANY INSTRUMENTS AND CASES THAT NEED ATTENTION. Feel free to contact them for details at: [email protected] or 718-541-5974