Automatic lancet, cased, Europe, 1801-1851

1801-1851 in Europe

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Spring fleam, cased. Black perspex back background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Spring fleam, cased or automatic lancet

Lancets were used in bloodletting, a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. This type of lancet works by the blade being swiftly released to cut into a vein by means of an automatic spring mechanism. Much depended on the skill and experience of the operator in determining the depth of the cut.

The main body of the lancet is made of brass, but the double-sided blade is made of a stronger, finer metal. It is likely that this lancet would have been used on a number of patients without any effective form of sterilisation.


Object Number:
blade, steel, body, brass, body, steel, case, brass, case, leather
automatic lancet
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • lancets
Moos, S.

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