Triple-bladed, vaccination lancet, steel and ivory, by Millikin of London, 1822-1900
The three blades would have been dipped into lymph material from a pus-filled skin blister of a person already vaccinated against smallpox. The lancet blade would then be inserted into the skin and used to vaccinate another person. This arm-to-arm vaccination was made illegal in 1898, as it could transmit other diseases. Specially prepared animal lymph was used instead. Vaccination did not give life-long immunity and needed to be repeated. Smallpox was the first disease that could be vaccinated against. This vaccination lancet was made by John Millikin, a surgical instrument maker.