Carving instrument used to make ivory dentures, Europe, 1701-1850

Made:
1701-1850 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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A29001, Carving instrument, possibly used in making ivory dentures, steel with lignum vitae handle and silver mounted
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carving instrument, possibly used in making ivory dentures, steel with lignum vitae handle and silver mounted lignum vitae lid, Europe, 1701-1850

Different tools were used to make dentures, including saws and polishers. This tool would have been used to carve marks in the dentures to create the appearance of individual teeth. Dentures of this period were made from a small range of materials, including ivory. This example was carved from hippopotamus ivory and would have been expensive. Ivory was difficult to clean and over time began deteriorate and smell quite unpleasant. The tool is shown here with a denture made from hippopotamus ivory (A600140).

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Details

Category:
Dentistry
Object Number:
A29001
Materials:
cap & handle, lignum vitae, heads, steel, mounts, silver
type:
carving tool
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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