Embryo Blotting Paper Models
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Anatomical models have always been a mainstay of descriptive embryology. As the training of embryologists grew in the late 1800s, so too did the need for large-scale teaching models. Embryo wax models, such as those made by Adolf Ziegler and Gustav Born, were popular in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century as a way to visualize, in three dimensions, the fine detail of embryos without the aid of a microscope. While these models were found in many university laboratories, museums of science, and even expositions and world's fairs, they were anything but easy to make or obtain. Wax modeling required skill, patience, and specialized tools. Small laboratories with only one or two embryologists often found the prospect of wax modeling too laborious, too difficult, and too expensive to make the pursuit worthwhile. As an alternative, Susanna Phelps Gage, an embryologist at Cornell University, perfected a technique of using stacks of absorbent blotting paper rather than stacks of wax plates for constructing embryo models. She first demonstrated her blotting paper method to other embryologists at the annual meeting of the Association of American Anatomists in 1905 and later at the International Zoological Congress, held in Boston in August 1907.