Fleams, Sticks and Bleeding Bowls

  1. Published on November 14, 2011

Another popular early method was the use of a simple fleam. These were relatively crude hand forged steel blades commonly held together with a rivet hinge in a brass or a horn casing.

A Fleam with Horn Handle (1816)

They were used in humans but the larger examples were for veterinary use, often in conjunction with bleeding sticks.

The sharp edge of the blade was placed on the thick hide of an animal and a single blow was applied to the blunt surface with the stick,  literally beating the blade through the skin.

Blood from a single incision typically made with a fleam or a thumb lancet would have been collected in a bleeding bowl. These were more commonly made from pewter and characteristically have a single handle and graduated marking on the inner surface of the bowl to measure the amount of blood. They are hard to come by, and rarer still are the porcelain examples which are much sought after.

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