Boing Boing points us to an amazing website of past technology, called Modern Mechanix (“Yesterday’s tomorrow, today!”) and a scary dental device (isn’t that redundant?) known as the gnathograph:
WITH the aid of the “gnathograph,” an instrument as mouth-filling as its name, a dentist’s patients may now be assured of a perfect fit for artificial teeth. Fitted to the jaws as shown above, the new device registers the arrangement of the teeth and the direction of the “bite,” to guide the dentist in straightening teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges, and plates. Its inventor, Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, Calif., demonstrates in the picture at the right how the instrument is then mounted for use in tooling a plate to just the right shape to give the
most comfortable fit in the mouth.
We’re not tooth experts, but we think dentists today accomplish similar measurements with soft alginate molds. Alginate, of course, is also used in cake frosting. This, dear readers, is progress…