A fine antique English hypodermic syringe c 1860.
The syringe is made from unmarked silver and the fixed needle is in gold of which Tiemann the American manufacturer said “Needles made of Gold do not oxydize, but will not take a good edge nor keep it long”. No great surprises there then but it does perhaps explain why gold needles were so seldom used and from the collectors point of view, so hard to find.
The glass body has hand etched graduations and the syringe is housed in a fitted leather case lined with blue silk and velvet. A very similar syringe but with a steel needle in the last picture can be seen in Wellcome Images and was made by Coxter & Sons
Hypodermic syringes were and are used for injecting fluids beneath a patient’s skin. Francis Rynd (1801-1861), an Irish physician, invented the hollow needle in 1844. In 1853, Charles Pravaz, a French doctor, developed the first practical metal syringe, and in 1855, Dr Alexander Wood of Edinburgh was the first physician to use a hypodermic syringe to inject narcotics into a patient.