Art and science The first stethoscope of Laenec (1817)


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study – diligence: Maddalena Monteduro
creation plans: Art and science
design material: bubinga wood
artist’s: George Paraschos, Averof Parashos
edition year: 2016
prototype year: 1817
based on:  the instructions of Laenec for the first stethoscope.
copyright all over the world: Art and science

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George Paraschos and his son, Averof, are widely known as two of the most known craftsmen of wind instruments.
Art and Science found them and present to you the first drawings of stethoscopes, like the one of Laennec.
The challenge was unique. At the beginning they felt incompetents of fullfilling our aims. On the other hand we knew that if George and Averof Paraschos could not construct those ceramic or wooden sampls of musical instruments, then no one would.
They worked using the tools of Laenec time. A lot of experimentations were produced, always processed by hand, like thees orders which Art and Science take over.
The wooden spread of the screw, the acoustics of the sound pipe, all the details were prepared following the istructions of Laenec for the very first stethoscope.
The result was the consrtuctions of a completely functional stethoscope, real jewel for every doctor’s office.
The stethoscope was created by bubinga wood and after the cut was processed aiming the closure of the holes, according the methods of acoustics of the most importants wind instruments.

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about Laenec

Laenec art and science gallery.comRené Laennec wrote the classic treatise De l’Auscultation Médiate, published in August 1819. The preface reads:

     “In 1816, I was consulted by a young woman laboring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case percussion and the application of the hand were of little avail on account of the great degree of fatness. The other method just mentioned [direct auscultation] being rendered inadmissible by the age and sex of the patient, I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics, … the great distinctness with which we hear the scratch of a pin at one end of a piece of wood on applying our ear to the other. Immediately, on this suggestion, I rolled a quire of paper into a kind of cylinder and applied one end of it to the region of the heart and the other to my ear, and was not a little surprised and pleased to find that I could thereby perceive the action of the heart in a manner much more clear and distinct than I had ever been able to do by the immediate application of my ear”.

A young French physician named Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec was the inventer of stethoscope in 1816. While examining a young female patient, Laennec used a trick he learned as a child.Sound travels through solids and thus he rolled up 24 sheets of paper, placed one end to his ear and the other end to the woman’s chest. The success of his method was undoubtfull leading him in producing the firtst samples. Laenec used his prototype stethoscope in 1817, during the examination of Marie Melanie Basset, a 40 years old patient.
The stethoscope, constructed in two pieces was created by wood with hollow bore in the center. It was first named “Le cylindre” until Laenec established the greek origin word stethoscope. Laennec published his classic treatise on mediate auscultation in 1819 A second edition was published in 1826, just after Laennec died from the very diseases he spent long hours studying with the aid of his stethoscope, Tuberculosis. Laenec drawings of stethoscope refer to its dimensions and the specifiques materials of construction. (source:


  1. Bon, H. (1925) Laennec (1781–1826). Dijon: Lumière
  2. Duffin, Jacalyn (1998) To See with a Better Eye: The Life of R.T.H. Laennec. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  3. Laennec, R. T. H. (1819) De l’Auscultation Médiate ou Traité du Diagnostic des Maladies des Poumons et du Coeur. Paris: Brosson & Chaudé (The complete title of this book, often referred to as the ‘Treatise’ is De l’Auscultation Médiate ou Traité du Diagnostic des Maladies des Poumons et du Coeur (On Mediate Auscultation or Treatise on the Diagnosis of the Diseases of the Lungs and Heart)
  4. Laennec, R. T. H.; Forbes, John, Sir, A treatise on the diseases of the chest and on mediate auscultation (1835). New York : Samuel Wood & Sons ; Philadelphia : Desilver, Thomas & Co. See “XXIV Life Of The Author.

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