Replica of donkey engine used by Lister
The donkey engine was used by Joseph Lister (1827-1912) around 1871 while conducting surgery or dressing wounds. It was designed to cover everyone and everything with a fine spray of carbolic acid. This created an antiseptic environment. Carbolic acid was placed in the bottle and pumped by an assistant using the long handle. The whole engine was mounted on a tripod and measures just over a metre in height. The tripod was large and was difficult to move around. It was abandoned in favour of the steam spray in 1872-1873. The original donkey engine was made by Andrew Brown. This copy was made for the Wellcome Institute of History of Medicine’s Lister Centenary Exhibition in 1927.
- Object Number:
- donkey engine
- Brown, A.
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.