Sunday, November 16, 2014

Old Bloodletting Devices: Lancet, Scarifactor, and Artificial Leech

Here is a great image of some antique bloodletting devices from the 17th century. It is from Historical Collections, The National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. *

Bloodletting instruments from Historical Collections, The National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.


The device in the foreground is the lancet. The image to the rear and left is the 'artificial leech,'  and to the right is the scarifactor.

Below is a tintype photograph of a bloodletting procedure. It is one of only three photographs of bloodletting that are known to exist.



bloodletting photograph
Public domain photo from the Burn's Archive


And here is a bloodletting bowl. It had graduation marks to measure the amount of blood that was being drawn.


bowl for bloodletting
Bloodletting bowl made by John Foster of London, c. 1740
Held in collections of Division of Cultural History
Greenwood Collection, Smithsonian Institution


Below is an advertisement for phlebotomy and cupping instruments from 1889.


Phlebotomy Instruments ad


A great source of information, with many more images, is the booklet Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology, by Audrey Davis and Tobey Apell, 1979 (Project Gutenburg).

* The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was closed in September of 2011. Many of its functions are now performed by the Joint Pathology Center.