Brush, a domestic implement, consisting generally of a collection of hairs or bristles, fastened in a frame of wood, bone, or ivory; with, or without a handle : and used for various purposes. This simple manufacture is capable of great improvement; as we seldom meet with brushes, the hair of which is so firmly cemented, or otherwise seared in the frame, as to ensure their constant use, until the hair itself is worn out by mechanical friction. We shall, under the head of Cement, communicate a few hints for remedying this defect.
Flesh-brush, an instrument frequently employed for increasing the circulation of the fluids in languid habits, especially in paralytic and rheumatic cases, in order to relieve pain and uneasiness of the skin. Although we do not deprecate, but rather strongly recommend, friction to the aged and sedentary in particular, yet we are of opinion that this simple and useful operation may be performed with equal ease, and more attention to cleanliness, by a piece of flannel, than by a flesh-brush ; because the perspirable matter adhering to each hair of the latter, is thus spread from one part of the body to another : whereas the former may be frequently turned, and afterwards washed, as often as is necessary.
Stomach-Irtish, a curious instrument which excited considerable attention about the middle of the last century. It was invented by the ancient physicians, but again brought forward by the surgeons of Fiance and Germany, with a view to scower or cleanse the stomach, or remove foreign bodies fallen down the fauces and gullet. It consists of a piece of sponge fastened to a long whale-bone pn be; or is composed of soft hair, formed into a fascicle by twisted brass or steel-wire, the handle or stem of which may be invested •with silk or thread. Previous to its application, the patient drinks a small draught of warm Water; then the brash, being moistened in some convenient liquor, is introduced into the gullet, and slowly protruded into the stomach, by twist-ting round fts wire-handle. We doubt, however, whether many of our readers would submit to this painful operation, which we have mentioned here, on the authority of the Gentleman's Magazine for December 1750 where a Medical correspondent farther advises the operator to draw the handle of this brush up and down in the stomach, and through the oesophagus, like the sucecer in a syringe, till it be, at length, wholly extracted. He farther suggests the utility of plentiful drinking, while the brush is at work, and so long as any foul matters are discharged. Those readers who incline to try the experiment (which probably no modern surgeon would recommend, unless for removing material obstructions in the throat, etc.) will find a cut of this instrument in the work above-mentioned : and candid author of that paper concludes with saying, that though this contrivance is greatly extolled, and said to prolong life to a great age, especially if practised on week, fortnight, or month ; yet there are very few instances of its happy effects ; probably because it has been tried by few. - See Gullet and Windpipe.
Tooth-brush. - Many complaints prevail concerning the imperfect manner in which these instruments are manufactured. We shall presume to offer any advice to the mechanic ; having, in this respect, uniformly deprecated the use of either brushes or sponges. Regardless of vulgar prejudices, we venture to recommend the application of the small finger to the gums, when there are no interstices between the teeth ; or the use of a soft piece of calico : the former is a natural instrument, not liable to hurt gums, as it has the advantage.of being soft and pliable; and, by feeling the least pressure or resistance, will have no tendency to injure the teeth or gums. Nothing, therefore, but injudicious delicacy can oppose this simple substitution.