Replica of a donkey engine used by Joseph Lister, c. 1927

1927 in Europe
Andrew Brown

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Replica of donkey engine used by Lister. 3/4 view. Grey graduated background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

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:
glass, metal, rubber and wood
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

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

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.