- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Hermann Welcker

Born 1822
Died 1897

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German physician, anatomist, and anthropologist, born April 8, 1822, Giessen; died September 12, 1897, Winterstein in Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha.

Biography of Hermann Welcker

Hermann Welcker came from a family with a reputation for learnedness. He was a nephew of the scholar Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker (1784-1868), founder of the old Bonn school of philosophy, and the liberal politician and publisher Karl Theodor Welcker (1790-1869), co-publisher of the Staatslexikon.

Welcker commenced his medical studies in 1841 at Bonn, and completed them at Giessen, where he received his doctorate in 1851. From 1850 to 1853 he was assistant physician at the Giessen medical clinic, and in 1853 became Privatdozent for anatomy. In 1855 prosector at Giessen, 1859 prosector and professor extraordinary at Halle an der Saale, 1866 professor ordinarius, and in 1876 he also became director of the anatomical institute, succeeding Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann (1801-1877). He held this position until ailing health forced him to retire in 1893. He then moved to Winterstein in Gotha.

In Halle Welcker is remembered for his efforts in organising and expanding the anatomical collection.

Welcker’s work covered a broad field, optics, microscopy, histology, biology, anatomy, anthropology, and ethnology, as well as various other branches of human knowledge.

On July 30, 1889, Hermann Welcker received U.S. Patent No. 408151 for galvanic spectacles. Nosepiece electrodes on these spectacles were used to deliver current to the nose to prevent congestion due to the common cold. The power was supplied by a pocket battery.

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An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

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