An early to mid 19th Century French tonsillotome made by by Joseph Charrière
This instrument was used for the rapid surgical removal of tonsils which would have been enclosed in the steel frame and excised with a single cut guillotine style. It is beautifully constructed from cross-hatched ebony, blue tempered steel and German silver and dates to around 1840.
Paul Guersant (1800-1869) instigated the first paediatric surgical unit at the Hopital de Enfants-Malades in Paris in 1844. He wrote an extensive text on paediatric surgery “Notice sur la Chirugerie des enfants” and performed over 1000 tonsillectomies himself. He stopped bleeding with a white hot iron of perchlorate of iron, after which only three children lost blood. His tonsillotome became widely used in France.
Charrière (1803-1876) born in Switzerland was resident in Paris where he became a surgical instrument maker of some reputation in the early 19th century.
- From the Phisick collection