Calf's tooth teething amulet, England, 1871-1915

1871-1915 in England

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A132464, Small flint module, used as amulet against teething, collected in South Devon, English 1913. A132465,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Calf's tooth amulet, to facilitate teething, Lovett collection, from London, English, 1871-1915

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, some believed that carrying or placing an animal’s tooth in a child’s bedroom could protect them against teething pains.

The tooth was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with other teething amulets, a piece of flint (A132464), a piece of turf (A132465), and a necklace of woody nightshade (A132471).

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