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Surgical instrument set, Germany, 1917

This 68-piece instrument set was designed for performing emergency surgery at a field hospital or on the battlefield during the First World War. The instruments are nickel plated and would have been easy to sterilise between operations. They are stamped with the company mark of Jetter and Scheerer, then a major German instrument maker. Each instrument also has a number punched on it, probably to keep track of the objects and make it easier to order a replacement. Each of the four khaki rolls where the instruments are stored has outlines of each object stitched into them, so it is easier to find and replace instruments after use. The German printed inscription translates into English as “troop cutlery”, “cutlery” being another word for surgical instruments.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: surgical instrument set

Set of instruments to be used for surgery. A physician would often build up their own collection of favoured tools in order to feel as comfortable as possible when carrying out surgery.

Glossary: field hospital

A temporary hospital set up near a combat zone to provide emergency care for the wounded.