Chamberlen-type obstetrical forceps

1680-1750 in Europe

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Forceps, obstetrical, Chamberlen, steel, 1680-1750

The Chamberlen family escaped religious persecution in France to settle in England in 1569. Peter (the Elder) Chamberlen (d. 1631) is thought to have invented the obstetrical forceps. Other family members modified the original design. The Chamberlens were among the early ‘man-midwives’. They became famous for dealing with difficult births, but the forceps were a family secret for over 100 years. The forceps were common knowledge by the 1730s yet took time to be used extensively. Obstetrical forceps grip a baby’s head during difficult labours to help delivery. This example is made from steel.

Related people


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
obstetrical forceps and obstetrics (instruments) chamberlen, obstetrical forceps and obstetrics (instruments)
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • obstetrical instrument

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