This century-old dental catalog from the Buckeye Dental Supply Co. is my personal equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (If any readers/archaeologists are in Toledo, I would love to know if the old Ohio Building still stands.) But rather than offering exceptional insight into antiquity, this catalog provides exceptional insight into the early years of dentistry.
Let’s go back 100 years: A dentist could purchase an intri cately carved, solid-oak dental cabinet for $70, while an oak roll-top would run $65. Waiting-room chairs – made of oak, of course – cost $13.50 a pop. As for the operatory, $190 would get you a state-of-the-art Ritter pump chair, complete with leather seat and ball-and-socket head rest.
That furniture and dental chair were quality products and sturdily constructed – built to last! One glaring exception, however, was the $3 forceps pictured above. These were made of chrome-plated steel – and when the chrome peeled off (and it did soon enough), the rust began in earnest. But then, how much could patients have expected when extractions ran 50 cents a tooth?