A patented 19th century faux tortoise shell celluloid auricle with an attractive organic design in its original card box which documents date, manufacture and ownership.
The oval shaped carton reads: “Multi-Audiphone deafness overcome. Price $5. Dr F M Blodgett No 1286 Broadway New York City” with a picture of a Victorian woman sporting the aid and below this “To be adjusted behind ear as shown above”. On the back of the box is a receipt for the auricle to Mrs B Dagget of Bristol dated Feb 27 1892. The piece itself is marked “Multi-Audiphone Dr F M Blodgett New York Patented April 8 1890 2L”, the latter denoting the size and side. The patent can be seen in the last picture.
Blodgett also developed an earlier device the Micro-Audiphone patented in 1886 which was not successful and production ceased in 1894.
I have found little else on researching Dr Blodgett. The Multi-Audiphone would have been made in small numbers and then probably had a similar degree of commercial success to the Micro-Audiphone. Now it is an extremely rare example of a 19th century auricle with excellent provenance and which typifies the beautiful and striking Art Nouveau design of the time.
- From the Phisick collection