Smellie-type obstetrical forceps

1751-1800 in England

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Leather covered Smellie type obstetric forceps, second half 18th century

William Smellie (1697-1763) described this instrument in 1745. The forceps blades are designed in two curves: the cephalic curve and the pelvic curve. The cephalic curve fits the child’s head. The pelvic curve corresponds to the curve of the mother’s pelvis. The blades fit together in deep notches known as the English Lock. The forceps are made of iron and covered with leather. This made them hard to clean and unhygienic. The leather was sometimes coated with hog’s lard to make them easier to insert.

Related people


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
iron and leather, covered
obstetrical forceps and obstetrics (instruments) smellie, obstetrical forceps and obstetrics (instruments)
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • obstetrical instrument
Austin, S.C.

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