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94/147/1 Contraceptive device, cervico-uterine, 'wishbone' pessary, gold / metal, maker unknown, place of production unknown, possibly 1930. Click to enlarge.

Cervico-uterine contraceptive device

Possibly made
  • 1930
Towards the end of the 19th century intra cervical devices, most of them made of metal, began to be used for contraception. These 'stem' pessaries had a button lodged against the vaginal wall, with a stem protruding into the uterus through the cervix. Intra-uterine devices on the other hand are inserted completely within the uterus. These first appeared early in the 20th century. A very widely used intra-uterine device was the silver Grafenburg ring, developed around 1928. It was still being inserted in patients as late as the 1980s by at least one gynaecologist interviewed by MH. Stem pessaries were still listed in medical catalogues in the 1930s but were probably not used much after this. Intra-uterine devices, however, continued to evolve and in the late 1950s polyethylene was first used. Since then an endless variety of designs in lUDs has been developed, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The mode of action of intra-uterine devices has still not been established, but it is probable that they prevent pregnancy in several different ways. For large numbers of women they are a satisfactory contraceptive.


Object No.


Object Statement

Contraceptive device, cervico-uterine, 'wishbone' pessary, gold / metal, maker unknown, place of production unknown, possibly 1930

Physical Description

Contraceptive device, cervico-uterine, 'wishbone' pessary, gold, maker unknown, place unknown, [1930].

18 carat gold device, consisting of circular gold "button" and double stem of gold wire. Circular gold form, with central portion cut out & central horizontal bar, circumference marked "SOLID GOLD". Double stem of gold wire fixed from central bar. Nearest portion to bar is spiral with splayed 'legs' ending in ovoid forms. The device was held in place in the uterus by its 2 prongs. For insertion, the prongs would have been held together with gelatine, which was subsequently melted by body warmth.



65 mm


25 mm


Possibly made

  • 1930


Devised around 1880 in Germany and patented by Carl Hollweg in 1902.

Available in the late 19th century and still being listed in the medical catalogues in the 1930s.



Part of donor's private collection


Credit Line

Gift of the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, 1994

Acquisition Date

28 June 1994

Cite this Object


Cervico-uterine contraceptive device 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 November 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Cervico-uterine contraceptive device |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 November 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.