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OBSTETRIC INSTRUMENTS (MIDWIFERY)

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Membrane Perforator
Forceps
Forceps
Blundell's Forceps

Fillet

Sheraton Fillet

Lowder's Vectis

Vectis

Cranioclast
Aveling Forceps
Lever's Long Forceps
Simpson's Forceps
Haighton's Forceps

Assalini's Forceps

Blunt Hook & Crochet
Blunt Hook & Crochet
Savigny Crochet
Lever's Vectis
Decapitating Hook
Cleidotomy Scissors
Smellie's Perforator
Ribes Bag
Cranioclast Forceps
Crochet
Anderson's Forceps
Tarnier's Forceps
Greenhalgh's Forceps
Decapitating Hook
Braxton-Hicks Forceps
Vectis
Cervical Dilator
Intra-Uterine Douche
Fleetwood Churchill Forceps
Hook
Axis Traction Forceps
Simpson's Perforator
Simpson's Perforator
Oldham's Perforator
Craniotomy Forceps
Double Crochet
Irish Forceps
Membrane Perforator
Obstetric Bougies
Childcare Booklet
Midwifery Case
Smelling Salts
Calipers
Y-Shaped Perforator
Cleidotomy Scissors
Crochet
Decapitation Hook
Crochet
Catheter
Traction Forceps
Encephelotribe
Fillet
Scissors
Perforator
Crochet
Encephelotribe
Crochet
Cleidotomy Scissors
Cranioclast

 

LIST OF ITEMS

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Membrane Perforator

Membrane Perforator with Ebony Handle, c. 1860.

Hollow metal tube with shallow curve to tip. Handle has rounded end and brass screw "button". When button is pressed, the unseen inner rod with a three blade point shoots forward, (this is the Trocar). The Membrane Perforator was used to perforate the womb to artificially 'Break the Waters' and so induce childbirth.

The tip of the shaft was inserted into the body with the inner blade safely sheathed. When the tip of the instrument touched the wall of the uterus, the button was pressed to push forward the inner internal rod. The sharp facetted trocar tip of the rod shot forward approximately 10mm to break the membrane of the womb. The membrane having been pierced released the amniotic fluid around the baby, thereby inducing birth.

(1990:006)

 

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Forceps

Metal Obstetric Forceps, early 20th Century. Entirely metal forceps with simple locking device.

An item contained within midwife Ethel Williams' Midwifery case. Ethel trained at Guy's Hospital between 1906 and 1910, and items within the case were used at home births. The case and contents were included in the NHS 50 exhibition shown in 1998.

Loaned By: Mr Edward Williams

(1990:038)

 

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Forceps

Early 20th century metal obstetric forceps made by Allen and Hanbury Allen and Hanbury, London. Early 20th Century, entirely metal forceps with simple locking device.

One of the items contained within midwife Ethel Williams' Midwifery case. Ethel trained at Guy's Hospital between 1906 and 1910, and items within the case were used at home births. The case and contents were included in the NHS 50 exhibition shown in 1998.Makers Allen and Hanbury traded under that name from 1715 TO 1972. Mr Allen was lecturer at Guy's Hospital.

Loaned By: Mr Edward Williams

(1990:039)

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Blundell's Forceps

Nineteenth Century

Blundell's Obstetric Forceps. 19th Century metal forceps with wooden handle and straight central fitting and an English Lock join.

James Blundell was a pioneer of the operation of blood transfusion. Blundell performed the first successful human blood transfusion using his funnel shaped invention known as 'The Gravitator' which was used to take blood from a husband to transfuse his wife in 1818 at Guy's Hospital, Southwark.

(1990:098)

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Fillet

Nineteenth Century Obstetric Fillet with Horse Hair Loop. A turned wooden handle with a loop extending from top.

The loop is made from horse hair which is lacquered, possibly with shellac. Used to drag the foetus into birthing position, usually to loop under the chin and other parts of the body.

(1990:099)

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Sheraton Fillet

The Sheraton Collapsible Fillet, 1866.

Ebony and brass trim to handle with metal loop. The loop or fillet is hinged so it can be folded in half to allow ease of insertion into the mother's body. When in position it can be opened, hooking the baby for delivery. Patented in 1763.

(1990:100)

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Lowder's Vectis

Lowder's Vectis with Ebony Handle made by Evans, London. 19th Century spoon shaped instrument with a black wooden handle with scoop with elliptical hole in the centre. Has protruding adjustment catch and can fold in half.

The protruding central catch is an additional innovation over the usual Vectis spoon-like design. The catch releases the hinge to allow the instrument to fold in half and facilitate carriage.

(1990:101)

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Vectis

Nineteenth Century Wood Handled Vectis. Spoon-like loop shaped steel instrument with patterned wooden handle.

The Vectis was used to help turn a baby whilst in the womb and so facilitate delivery. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century such instruments, as well as forceps (which consist of two pieces), were particularly important to assist with breech births, where a baby was in the feet first position, which was potentially dangerous for the child and mother's health.

(1990:102)

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Cranioclast

Nineteenth Century Obstetric Cranioclast. Large metal forceps with duck bill shaped ridged jaw grip and one wood (could be brass) handle addition missing.

A cranioclast is used to remove the foetus from the womb.

(1990:103)

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Aveling Forceps

Aveling Obstetric Forceps with Ebony Handles, made by Weiss London, 1860s. Large long metal obstetric forceps with finger ridged ebony handles. The ebony and metal of the handles wing outward near blades, the blades then curl inward into a circular shape then back out to forcep scoop ends.

The forceps are inserted one at a time and, when holding the baby in the correct position, the two arms are locked together using the German lock. When locked together the open circular shape is formed. This circular shape is a finger ring to assist the medic holding the instrument securely to pull the baby out. This type of forcep was a radical change in design as it is shaped to the pelvic curve, a shape mirroring the birth canal. In 1863, J.H. Aveling (1820 - 92) also introduced a portable blood transfusion set. Weiss the instrument maker was in existence from 1787 to the end of the twentieth century.

(1990:104)

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Lever's Long Forceps

Lever's Long Forceps with Cross-Hatched Ebony Handles made by Biggs & Millikin, 1849. Two piece long metal forcep with cross hatched ebony handles. Metal from handle leads into a circular shape then back out to the forcep scoops.

The forceps are inserted one at a time and, when holding the baby in the correct position, the two arms are locked together using the German lock. When locked together the open circular shape is formed. This circular shape is a finger ring to assist the medic holding the instrument securely to pull the baby out. This type of forcep was a radical change in design as it is shaped to the pelvic curve a shape mirroring the birth canal. Lever was a Guy's Hospital surgeon.

(1990:105)

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Simpson's Forceps

Simpson's Short Straight Obstetric Forceps, 19th Century. Two piece short metal forceps with small cross hatched ebony handles. Handles are deliberately small to prevent undue pressure being applied.

James Young Simpson was a Scottish Professor based in Edinburgh and was the first man to use chloroform in obstetrics in 1847.

(1990:106)

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Haighton's Forceps

Haighton's Obstetric Forceps. Black lacquered metal midwifery forceps inscribed 'Ferguson 12 Giltspur Street', 1790.

Previous to the introduction of aseptic procedures, medical instruments were often lacquered with paint to stop rust. The later introduction of e.p.n.s and/or silver plating replaced this process, itself outdated by the introduction of stainless steel. The narrowed section at the end of the handles allowed a tape to be tied to secure the two individual arms together and prevent slippage. Forceps have a German lock which is unusual for Haighton's forceps. Haighton was surgeon to both Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals. Giltspur Street, location of the maker of the instrument, is close to St Bartholomew's Hospital.

(1990:107)

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Assalini's Forceps

Assalini's Straight Parallel Obstetric Forceps, c. 1800 (possibly earlier). Two fairly straight spoon forcep arms which join at the very end of the handles (do not cross centrally). Handles are bound with a covering of worn blue velvet.

Paulo Assalini (1759-1849) published a treatise on forceps in 1810. The forceps were notable for their solid bales and lock at end of handle. This design was thought to provide greater freedom of movement. These forceps were shown as an exhibit within the 'Spectacular Bodies' show curated by Dr Martin Kemp and Marina Wallace from 5/11/2000-15/3/2001.

(1990:109)

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Hook and Crochet

Obstetric Blunt Hook and Crochet with Central Ebony Handle made by Frazer, Glasgow, 19th Century. Double hook-ended instrument with a thicker metal rod hook at one end and a (more flattened) sharp hook at the other. The rounded ebony section of the handle is riveted either side of the metal by three metal pins, (seen as dots in the ebony) and tapers off at each end.

(1990:110)

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Hook and Crochet

Obstetric Blunt Hook and Crochet with Ebony Handle, c. 1850.

Double hook ended instrument with a thicker metal rod hook at one end and a (more flattened) sharper hook at the other. Inscribed 'Frazer Glasgow'. Ebony handle is of rounded section and metal is sandwiched by ebony which is riveted to metal by three metal pins, (dots in ebony) and tapers off at each end.

(1990:111)

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Savigny Crochet

Crochet with Ebony Handle made by Savigny, 19th Century. Flattened metal rod hook with wooden handle. Shaft is imprinted with makers's name.

Medical instrument maker Savigny changed name in 1810. Savigny was one of the first companies to issue an instrument catalogue.

(1990:112)

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Lever's Vectis

Lever's Vectis. Metal spoon with a large hole in the bowl with squared section wooden handle, c. 1850.

The Vectis was used to help turn a baby whilst in the womb and so facilitate delivery. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century such instruments (forceps were also used which consist of two pieces which lock together), were particularly important to assist with breech births, where a baby was in the feet first position to be born, which was potentially dangerous for the child and mother's health.

(1990:113)

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Decapitating Hook

Decapitating Hook, 19th Century. Grey metal rod with hook at one end and octagonal handle which tapers towards the centre.

(1990:114)

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Cleidotomy Scissors

Nineteenth Century Cleidotomy Scissors.

Large long curved blade scissors inscribed 'Victoria'.

(1990:115)

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Smellie's Perforator

Smellie's Obstetric Perforator, late 18th Century.

Large, long scissors with sharp arrow point tip and blades to the outside edge. Used for removal of the foetus from the womb.

(1990:116)

 

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Ribes Bag

Metreurynter or Ribes Bag. Bag made from coated fabric. Bag has a nozzle at one end.

An inflatable bag for inducing labour invented by De Ribes. The bag was inserted with cervical forceps into neck of womb and inflated with water. Another use was to compress the lining of the uterus in cases of uterine haemorrhage. A tube would be attached to bag (with funnel type end) to allow the pouring of water into bag in situe.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:188)

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Cranioclast Forceps

Cranioclast Forceps, 19th Century.

Metal forceps with cupped and grained jaws to improve grip and have a blue tint (blued steel is the predecessor of plating). One handle is a scissor-like circle, the other doubles as a hook.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:190)

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Crochet

Nineteenth Century Obstetric Crochet with Squared Wooden handle.

Metal rod with squared wooden handle and thick hook at one end.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:191)

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Anderson's Forceps

Anderson's Obstetric Forceps made by Weiss. Long metal forceps with 'S' shape profile to length with ebony handles ending in oval ball. Heads follow pelvic curve Anderson's Forceps combines Simpson's with Barnes long forceps.

Long metal forceps with grooved ebony handles which provide a more secure grip. Heads follow pelvic curve. Anderson's Forceps combines Simpson's with Barnes long forceps. Has an English lock.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:194)

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Tarnier's Forceps

Tarnier's Axis Fraction Obstetric Forceps. Long metal forceps with locking nut for setting gap between heads of forceps. Also has two arms for control.

The curved arms ending in the handle are designed to allow the surgeon to exert pressure in the correct plane.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:195)

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Greenhalgh Forceps

Greenhalgh Long Obstetric Forceps, 1852. Short handled long forceps with pelvic curve. Handles are ebony.

Obstetric forceps with English lock and a 'finger' hole where handle meets arms. Fingerhole is to help surgeon 'pull' forceps. Short handles designed to stop excessive force being used. Identified by Prof Hibberd. Greenhalgh was a St Barts Surgeon.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:196)

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Decapitating Hook

Ramsbottom's Decapitating Hook, c. 1940.

Metal rod with hook at one end. Hook has a sharp inside edge blade. Handle is tapered and curved with eight facets.

Pair with Blunt Hook 1990:193.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:197)

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Braxton-Hicks Forceps

Braxton-Hicks Obstetric Forceps made by Down Bros of St Thomas' Street, 1860.

Long metal forceps, curved at one end. Clasps have grooved central ridge. Handles are diagonally ridged and open into two prongs at the end. Screw at bottom end.

Seperates into two sections. Screw donated by Prof Hibberd as original is missing.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:198)

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Vectis

Vectis with Ebony Handle made by Weedon, Hart St, Bloomsbury, 1830.

Metal spoon shaped vectis with ebony handle. Clip allows the handle to be unscrewed. This would be part of set with one handle to several instruments

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:201)

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Cervical Dilator

Nineteenth Century Cervical Dilator. Metal instrument with eight prongs. Adjusting screw at one end. Stem is graduated 0-12.

The instrument shows wear from use but this may be a prototype instrument as even when closed it has a very wide gauge tip for actual use.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:202)

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Douche

Nineteenth Century Intra-Uterine Douche. Pewter coloured cylindrical body with extending tube, with end missing. Hinged in four parts.

The arm is placed into the neck of the womb and the syringe part (filled with water) is depressed to irrigate the womb.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:204)

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Fleetwood Churchill Forceps

Fleetwood Churchill Long Obstetric Forceps, 1868. Metal Forceps with leather covered wooden handles

English Lock. Handles are curved, following the pelvic curve. Leather is missing on one handle. Churchill was a surgeon in Dublin.

Donated By: St Thomas Hospital

(1990:205)

 

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Hook

Obstetric Vertebra Hook, c. 1940. Metal instrument with sharp hook at one end. Handle at other end has two holes. The central one is circular, the lower one triangular.

Inscribed with the number 59, and has an additional maker's mark of a crown over a mace circled by a snake. Used to help extract the foetus from the womb.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:207)

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Axis Traction Forceps

Nineteenth Century Axis Traction Obstetric Forceps.

Metal Instrument with T Bar Handle. Stem is bent almost at right angles. At the end is an adjustable blade.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:208)

 

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Simpson's Perforator

Simpson's Obstetric Perforator. Curved short blade forceps with handle joining bar and central spring.

Donated By: Royal College of Obstetricians

(1993:005)

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Simpson's Perforator

Straight Simpson's Obstetric Perforator made by Down Brothers.

Donated By: Royal College of Obstetricians

(1993:006)

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Oldham's Perforator

Curved Oldham's Obstetric Perforator. Oldham was a surgeon of Guy's Hospital

Donated By: Royal College of Obstetricians

(1993:007)

 

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Craniotomy Forceps

Simpson's Improved Craniotomy Forceps

Donated By: Royal College of Obstetricians

(1993:012)

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Double Crochet

Smellie's Double Crochet with hinged lock. Inscribed with mark of crown and star

(1993:013)

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Irish Forceps

Irish Forceps made by Biggs & Millikin. Single arm of a short forcep, other arm missing. Ebony handle.

The design is known to be Irish, as the arm of the forceps curves immediately from handle.

(1993:014)

 

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Perforator

Lee's Membrane Perforator, c. 1860. Hollow metal tube with soft curve to tip. Has a three bladed inner rod inside. Fine diamond type hatching decoration on the ebony handle with ivory button at the end.

The Membrane Perforator was used to perforate the womb and artificially, to 'Break the Waters' and so induce childbirth. At a R.C.S instrument workshop in May 1998, surgeon Sir John Kirkup (F.R.C.S) identified this as an obstetric / midwifery perforator. The tip of the shaft was inserted into the body with the inner blade safely sheathed. When the tip of the instrument touched the wall of the uterus, the small button at the end of the handle was pressed to push forward the inner internal rod. The sharp trocar type tip of the rod shot forward aproximately 10mm to break the membrane of the womb. The membrane having been pierced released the amniotic fluid around the baby, thereby inducing birth. See also 1990:006 which is a slightly shorter plainer version.

Donated By: St Thomas' Hospital

(1990:007)

 

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Boxed Probes

Full Set of Obstretric Bougies, 20th century. Shiny metal box of eight graded soft 'S' shaped rods.

Probes are chromium plated. Obstetric 'bougies' or dilators for measuring the dilation of the uterus.

Donated By: Jenny Hoggins

(1995:H002)

 

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Fennings Childcare Booklet

Small thin booklet with dark cover to be displayed with bottle exhibit (2002:136) for "Fennings Fever Curer". "Every Mother's Book : The Child's First Doctor", by Alfred Fennings.

(1997:008)

 

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Midwifery case

The "Practitioner" Midwifery Case, early 20th century. Brown leather rectangular case containing miscellaneous instruments and supplies. Has three compartments, large one reached from top, other two reached from side.

(1994:007)

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Smelling Salts

Bottle of 'Vaporole Aromatic Ammonia' Smelling Salts made by Burroughs Wellcome, early 20th century.

Contained within midwife Ethel Williams' Midwifery case. Ethel trained at Guy's Hospital between 1906 and 1910, and items within the case were used at home births

Donated By: Mr Edward Williams

(1990:032)

 

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Calipers

Scissor-like probe calipers. Two curved probes with measuring dial in centre, used to measure baby's head size.

(1998:022)

 

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Perforator

Obstetric Perforator made by Moring, London. Stainless steel Perforator, Sharp point to tip, Two Handles

Loaned By: Penfold collection

(1999:105P)

 

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Cleidotomy scissors

Chrome, curved nose scissors used for cleidotomy Haslam, USA

(1998:025)

 

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Crochet

Obstetric Crochet. Silver metal hook with circular shaft and 'T' bar handle, and adjustment screw button, 20th century.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker of Nightingale Museum

(1999:140)

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Decapitation Hook

Large silver metal (probably e.p.n.s plated) obstetric decapitation hook with a serrated inside edge. Ridged handle, rust 7.5cm from the top. Handle pitted from use. 20th century item, originally used at King's College Hospital.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker of the Nightingale Museum

(1999:142)

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Crochet

Silver metal (probably e.p.n.s) hook with soft ridges 8.5cm from bar handle. 20th century obstetric crochet.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker

(1999:141)

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Catheter

20th Century extendable catheter. 'S' shaped thin instrument that appears to be in two sections. One extends as the other two visible sections are pulled apart, although cannot be moved now. Originally from King's College.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker/Florence Nightingale Museum

(1999:143)

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Traction Forceps

20th century traction forceps. Large unit of two forcep arms with a tractor 'T' shaped unit attached to the left forcep arm above handle. Shiny soft finish to metal. When T bar attached to left hand arm it all fits comfortably together. It is likely, unless jammed/rusted that this may separate into three pieces. Originally from King's College.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker/Florence Nightingale Museum

(1999:149)

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Obstetric Forceps

20th Century encephelotribe . Three individual sections of silver metal, plus nut and bolt. Two have deep ridges in the end, third is more pointed with ridges along the end of the vertical shaft. Cranial obstetric forceps used to remove the baby in a still-birth.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker of the Nightingale Museum

(1999:144)

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Fillet

Blond-Heidler Decapitation Saw - 20th Century obstetric fillet. Three pieces: cord and two handles. A twisted wire cord with covers over handles and small balled ends. Two grey metal (chrome) handles slot into the balls like a cheese wire. Design is similar to a necklace.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker, Florence Nightingale Museum,

(1999:145)

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Scissors

20th Century surgical scissors, made by Allen & Hanburys. Large chrome scissors with curved blades. These are likely to be cleidotomy scissors, originally from Kings College.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker, Florence Nightingale Museum

(1999:146)

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Perforator

20th Century obstetric perforator, made by Allen & Hanburys Ltd, England. Scissor-like instrument, all metal, with handles spring joined. Ridged handles and curved, pointed cutting end. Originally from King's College.

Donated By: Joyce Whitaker of the Florence Nightingale Museum

(1999:147)

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Crochet

20th century obstetric crochet, made by Holborn Co.

Double ended hook of silver metal, larger end a rounded wire hook. Smaller end flattened wire and ending in spike. Light grooves on each side act as grip to either end. Used to remove baby in case of still birth.

Donated By: Ref. Dr M Barry, Colchester

(1999:097P)

 

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Forceps

20th. Century obstetric encephelotribe, made by J.H. Montague, London.

Two pieces of chrome / e.p.n.s. plated metal, joined at end of handle by a screw bar joined to one piece (A) with a large wing nut. Two pieces join at centre button, one has an elongated hole in the tip and serration inside. The other piece (B) aligns to this one with sharp, toothed grip, with horizontal teeth.

The two pieces are inserted, one at a time, into the womb, and locked together as a forceps. The screw bar is swung across and the wing nut tightened. The grip closes onto the baby's head, to ease removal.

Loaned By: Penfold collection.

(1999:093P)

 

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Crochet

Long Curved Metal Crochet. Chrome plated hook with metal handle. Handle is notched with stripes on one side of octagonal shape. Hook is rounded on end.

(1990:240)

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Cleidotomy Scissors

Long Stainless Steel Cleidotomy Scissors. Stainless steel scissors with long handles and curved cutting end.

(1990:239)

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Cranioclast

Late 19th Century Metal Craniotomy Forceps/ Cranioclast, made by Millikin

Solid metal craniotomy forceps with brass fittings for handles (one missing) and serrated teeth inside curved jaws.

(1990:238)

 

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