Amputation instrument set, Strasbourg, France, 1780-1820

Made:
1780-1820 in Strasbourg
maker:
Lichtenberger

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Amputation set, almost complete, steel and ebony instruments, in leather case, by Lichtenberger of Strasbourg, c. 1800

The leather case set contains a range of equipment a surgeon would need to perform amputations. These include a number of rather gruesome looking knives and saws to cut through skin, muscle and bone. The instruments are made from steel with ebony handles. Materials such as ebony were difficult to clean and these instruments would very likely have harboured dirt and dangerous micro-organisms. Only later in the century, with the introduction of aseptic surgical procedures, were instruments finally made of materials that could be fully sterilised.

Inside the lid there is a handwritten inventory signed by surgeons of the Military Hospital in Strasbourg, France. This set was probably used during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). Amputations of arms and legs were common and were carried out without anaesthetic. One surgeon of the Napoleonic Wars claimed that at the Battle of Borodino in 1812 he performed two hundred amputations in a single day.

On display

Science Museum: Science & Art of Medicine Gallery

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people

Details

Category:
Surgery
Object Number:
A79278
Materials:
case, brass, case, felt, case, leather
type:
amputation instrument set
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.