Vaccination lancet, London, England, 1869-1900

Made:
1869-1900 in London
maker:
Mayer and Meltzer

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Vaccination lancet, steel and tortoiseshell, in leather pouch case, by Mayer and Meltzer of London, 1869-1900

The lancet would have been dipped in lymph material from a smallpox pustule. Pustules are skin blisters filled with pus that appear approximately five to eight days after vaccination. The lancet blade would then be used to vaccinate another person. This type of arm-to-arm vaccination was made illegal in 1898, as it could transmit other diseases such as syphilis. Specially prepared animal lymph was used instead. Vaccination did not give life-long immunity and had to be repeated. Lancets were also used to transport vaccines over short distances, although the vaccine could deteriorate so it was best to use them directly.

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
A136655
Materials:
incomplete, leather, steel (metal) and tortoiseshell
Measurements:
overall - case: 11 mm x 68 mm x 34 mm, .004 kg
overall - lancet: 10 mm x 57 mm
overall - total weight: .006 kg
type:
lancet
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument

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