Carving instrument, possibly used in making ivory dentures, steel with lignum vitae handle and silver mounted lignum vitae lid, Europe, 1701-1850
Different tools were used to make dentures, including saws and polishers. This tool would have been used to carve marks in the dentures to create the appearance of individual teeth. Dentures of this period were made from a small range of materials, including ivory. This example was carved from hippopotamus ivory and would have been expensive. Ivory was difficult to clean and over time began deteriorate and smell quite unpleasant. The tool is shown here with a denture made from hippopotamus ivory (A600140).