Bronze cautery probe

Made:
199 BCE-500 CE in Roman Empire
maker:
Unknown

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Olive-ended probe or cautery, bronze, Roman. Matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Olive-ended probe or cautery, bronze, Roman. The bulb at one end of the probe is known as an olive. This part was used
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Olive-ended probe or cautery, bronze, Roman

The bulb at one end of the probe is known as an olive. This part was used to apply medical treatments to wounds, eyes and ears as well as to apply cosmetics. Recent research has suggested that ‘olives’ were standardised and were a way of measuring gaps in the body. The square end may have been used as a cautery to apply heat to stop wounds bleeding and assist healing.

This object came from the private collection of Dr Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928), and was sold by Hamonic’s sons in two parts to Henry Wellcome, the first in June 1928 for £4,400 and the second in July 1928 for £803. The collection consisted mostly of surgical instruments and pharmacy ware.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Details

Category:
Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
A63124
type:
probe
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust (Hamonic Collection)

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