Automatic lancet, London, England, 1822-1863

1822-1863 in Strand

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Brass automatic lancet of unusual type, in leather covered case, by Simpson, London, 1822-1863. Full viiew, pale grey
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Brass automatic lancet of unusual mechanical type, in leather covered case, by Simpson, London, 1822-1863, located no. 55, The Strand

Lancets were used in bloodletting – a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. This automatic type of lancet was invented in the early 1800s and works by the blade being swiftly released to cut into a vein by means of a spring mechanism. The skill and experience of the operator was vital 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. The lancet is held within a purpose-made leather carrying case. This example was made by Simpson, a surgical instrument maker based in London.


Object Number:
brass, leather, steel, velvet, wood
lancet: 31 mm x 58 mm x 26 mm, .07kg
automatic lancet
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • lancets

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