What is a Bowles Stethoscope?

What is a Bowles Stethoscope?

History

The Bowles Stethoscope originates from Robert C. M. Bowles who thoughtfully redesigned the diaphragm type of chestpiece on a stethoscope. He originally patented his design in 1894 and made several improvements to the design thereafter. The Bowles Stethoscope was designed so sound would not be obstructed and to detect high frequencies. The modern day Bowles Stethoscope we see often is the result of Robert C. M. Bowles and his improvements to the traditional stethoscope.

Key FeaturesBowles Stethoscope

The defining features of the Bowles Stethoscope can be summed up in three points:

  • The curved stem allows for direct sound without obstruction. This is an alternative to the "bell."
  • The¬†large flat surface is seen ideal to place on patient.
  • Its ability to detect high frequencies is what sets it apart from other stethoscopes. It can even detect frequencies with clothing still on (not multiple layers or thick clothing).
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    Sources:

    BV Medical. 2022
    Hollman A. An Ear to the Chest: an Illustrated History of the Evolution of the Stethoscope. J R Soc Med. 2002.
    R.C.M. Bowles. Stethoscope (U.S. Patent No. 677,172). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 1901.
    R.C.M. Bowles. Stethoscopic Instrument (U.S. Patent No. 526,802). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 1894.
    R.C.M. Bowles. Stethoscopic Instrument (U.S. Patent No. 734.159). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 1903.
    R.C.M. Bowles. Stethoscopic Instrument (U.S. Patent No. 773,274). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 1904.
    Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology. Bowles Stethoscope. 2022.