Bow frame amputation saw, Europe, 1601-1700

1601-1700 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

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

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

Bow-frame amputation saw, wooden handle terminating in eagle head, c. 1680

Made from steel with a mahogany handle designed as an eagle’s head, the amputation saw was used to cut through the muscle, skin and bone of a limb. Decorative handles like this one fell out of favour in the late 1700s as they were uncomfortable for surgeons to use and could unnecessarily damage skin and muscle tissues during the amputation. Unfortunately for patients, these decorative features also provided a good environment in which germs could thrive.

Until the introduction of anaesthetics in the 1840s and 1850s, surgical amputation was something of a last resort and was performed with no, or very limited, pain relief.


Object Number:
blade, steel, frame, steel and handle, mahogany
amputation saw
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • surgical saw

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.