Civil War Era Medical Syphilis Glasses 

Ca. 1840 / 1860


These glasses were used to help treat syphilis during the Civil War Era. 


The bacterium Treponema pallidum, more commonly known as syphilis, is one of the more overlooked common diseases of the Civil War due to its sexually transmitted nature. This bacterium was brought back from Europe in the late 1400s by Christopher Columbus and was first documented in French troops during a war in Naples. 


Thinking they could be immune to terrifying smallpox, many Civil War soldiers accidentally infected themselves with syphilis. Facing the threat of smallpox, many soldiers resorted to arm-to-arm vaccination which often led to further medical complications.


~ Syphilis ~

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The signs and symptoms of syphilis vary depending on which of the four stages it presents (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). The primary stage classically presents with a single chancre (a firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulceration usually between 1 cm and 2 cm in diameter) though there may be multiple sores. In secondary syphilis, a diffuse rash occurs, which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. There may also be sores in the mouth or vagina. In latent syphilis, which can last for years, there are few or no symptoms. In tertiary syphilis, there are gummas (soft, non-cancerous growths), neurological problems, or heart symptoms. Syphilis has been known as "the great imitator" as it may cause symptoms similar to many other diseases.

Civil War Era Medical Syphilis Glasses ~ 1840 / 1860

SKU: Civil War Era Syphilis Glasses