Antonino Sciascia

The inventor of photocautery

By Museo della Radiologia

Museo della Radiologia - Sistema Museale dell'Università degli Studi di Palermo

Dr. Antonino SciasciaMuseo della Radiologia

Antonino Sciascia was born in Canicattì (Sicily, Italy) on 19 November 1839, he graduated Medicine and Surgery School at the University of Palermo, he was the inventor of the Photocautery and the phototherapy. Dr. Antonino Sciascia presented the Photocautery in 1892 at the thirteenth Congress of the Italian ophthalmologic association held in Palermo and in 1894 he obtained the patent initially in Italy, and later also in Great Britain and France, where it was commercialized.

The Sciascia's photocautery deviceMuseo della Radiologia

The photocautery device realized and used by Dr. Antonino Sciascia for the practical application of phototherapy: a type of medical treatment based on the use of sun rays. The device is composed by two concentric cylinders with a diameter of 27 centimeters and with a length of 50 centimeters, sliding one inside the other. The exterior cylinder is made of brass, instead the inner one is made of steel and with a slightly smaller diameter than the first to allow it to slide. The device is equipped with a concentrator mirror, a biconvex lens and a set of seven flat glasses of various colors.

A detail of the Sciascia's photocautery deviceMuseo della Radiologia

On the exterior cylinder there is a sturdy brass joint for fixing the Photocautery to an adjustable support, which allowed the correct positioning of the device.

Frontal view of the Sciascia's photocautery deviceMuseo della Radiologia

The device is equipped with a rack mechanism, attached to the exterior of the brass cylinder, which, through a knob, allows to vary the distance between the instrument lenses, for adjusting the focusing.

Parabolic mirror solar concentrator for the Sciascia's photocautery deviceMuseo della Radiologia

Parabolic mirror solar concentrator used by doctor Antonino Sciascia in his Photocautery. It is a concave mirror with a diameter of approximately 3 centimeters framed by a wooden support, used to concentrate the solar rays within the photocautery.

Biconvex lens for the Sciascia's photocautery deviceMuseo della Radiologia

Biconvex transparent glass lens used by doctor Antonino Sciascia for his phototherapy experiments, using the phenomenon of light rays refraction.

Set of glass lensesMuseo della Radiologia

Set of glass lenses for the Photocautery of Antonino Sciascia. The 5 colored lenses, from red to violet, were used to select the various frequencies of sunlight. The transparent lenses are biconvex and were used to deflect light rays, by making them converge in a specific point within the Photocautery, using the phenomenon of refraction.

Credits: Story

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© Property of the Museo della Radiologia - Sistema Museale dell'Università degli Studi di Palermo

Curator: Giuseppe Genchi
Collaborators: Claudia Cirrincione, Fulvio Sardina, Claudia Lo Re

Bibliographical references:
Adelfio Elio Cardinale, Roberto Lagalla, Massimo Midiri, "Il Museo della Radiologia". Edizioni ZAcco, Palermo, 2018. ISBN 9788894582383

Adelfio Elio Cardinale, “Immagini e segni dell'uomo, storia della Radiologia Italiana”. Casa Editrice Libraria Idelson, Guido Gnocchi Editore, 1995. ASIN: B00GMMWPL2

Credits: All media
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