Tonsil guillotine, possibly Fahnestock's, steel and ebonite by Mathieu of Paris, mid 19th century
For much of the 19th century no one knew the connection between microorganisms and disease, so the only treatment for tonsillitus was removal of the tonsils. The fact that there were no general anaesthetics at the time makes this all the more terrifying. The tonsil guillotine was adapted from an instrument for removing the uvula. It became popular in the 1830s, although this example was made in the 1870s.
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- Loan: Wellcome Trust
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