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Bow-frame amputation saw, Europe, 1601-1700

Bow-frame amputation saw, Europe, 1601-1700

Credits: Science Museum

This amputation saw is typical of designs from the 1600s. The blade is held by locking nuts and it has an ornate frame and a mahogany handle in the shape of an animal. Unfortunately for patients, these decorative features provided an ideal environment in which germs could thrive. The saw was purchased from the private collection of Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928) by Henry Wellcome in 1928.

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    Glossary: amputation saw

    Saw used for amputation. These tend to be instruments from the past, and were in common usage from c. 1500-1940 in Europe.

    Glossary: amputation

    Removal of part of, or a whole limb by surgery. Used to control pain or the spread of disease in the affected limb.