Karl Griesbaum Whistling Figure of Dr. Eisenbarth
- Sold for:
- Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2314
- Date / Time :
- November 03, 2005 10:00AM
Karl Griesbaum Whistling Figure of Dr. Eisenbarth, the carved and painted figure with prominent beard and spectacles, holding a surgical knife in his left hand, a polyp hook in the pocket of his laboratory coat, the going-barrel movement in the body whistling Ich Bin der Doktor Eisenbarth, ht. 13 in.
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Note: The figure commemorates Johann Anddreas Eisenbarth, an early travelling medicine man, surgeon and self-titled miracle worker. Born in 1663 in Oberviechtach, Germany, he was apprenticed as an optician in 1684, and by 1686 was travelling the country, performing operations and selling medicine at fairs and markets, accompanied by a troop of 120 musicians, dancers and jugglers. He would frequently perform operations in alehouses, hostels and other questionable places. In 1703, Eisenbarth purchased The Gilded Apple, an ale house of his own in Magdeburg, from which he continued to practice. Credited with the invention of a star-needle and polyp hook, he was given the title of "Royal Prussian Court Advisor" by Konig Friedrich Wilhelm I. Despite - or maybe because of - his reputation, Dr. Eisenbarth's name became associated with quackery after his death in 1727, and he passed into legend as a medical charlatan. His reputation lives on in the German folk song "Ich bin de Doktor Eisenbarth".