Finger saw, Europe, 1801-1900

1801-1900 in Europe

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Finger saw, steel and ivory, 19th century. Full view, graduated matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Finger saw, steel and ivory, 19th century

This small steel-bladed saw, measuring just less than 13 cm, was used during amputation of the finger. Surgery may have been required due to illness, injury or infection, such as gangrene. Unfortunately for the patients, this saw has an ivory handle, making it difficult to clean properly and providing 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:
ivory and steel
amputation saw
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • surgical saw

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