Spratley-type vaccinator, York, England, 1820-1910

Made:
1820-1910 in York
maker:
Henry Aitken and Company

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

Spratley vaccinator, cased, by Aitken, English, 1801-1900

The Spratley vaccinator used for smallpox vaccination has a spear-like head to prevent the blade going too deep into the skin. The blade 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 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.

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A600047
Materials:
blade, steel, case, leather, handle, ivory and tubes, glass
type:
vaccinator
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment