4 scalpels and a hernia bistoury, steel, aseptic, in sterilisable case, various makers, early 20th century, military issue
Scalpels have been used for hundreds of years. Some examples made of stone date from Ancient Egyptian times. This military issue instrument set consists of four scalpels and a hernia bistoury. A hernia bistoury is a curved surgical knife. It includes instruments from three English makers: Arnold and Son, Down Brothers, and Allen and Hanbury.
These instruments can be fully sterilised, meaning they can be re-used without fear of causing infection. Non-sterilised instruments were used in the previous century. This often led to the fatal introduction of bacteria into the wound site. Modern surgical scalpels are usually made of hardened steel which can be sterilised and re-used or disposed of safely.