Lüer Hypodermic Syringe

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Presented is an early example of an antique hypodermic syringe by le fabricant d’instruments de chirurgie, Amatus Lüer.

This syringe is made of glass with silver hardware. The threaded piston has volume markings and an adjustable ring, which are used to control the amount of medication administered. The leather plunger is intact and is moved via push-pull action of the piston. Two hypodermic needles and one curved lacrimal cannula accompany the set. A fine velvet material lines the inside of the wood and leatherette case.

An 1861 article in L’Union médicale : journal des intérêts scientifiques et pratiques, moraux et professionnels du corps médical discussed Lüer’s new syringe and the simplified method of subcutaneous medication delivery.

“Already for two years, Mr. Lüer had adapted to his syringes a graduated piston, provided with a screw curser arrangement which allows in advance to limit the stroke of the piston and to proportion it exactly to the number of drops to be injected. A large number of practitioners have this instrument in their hands and appreciate the speed and safety of its operation. To achieve an even greater simplicity, Mr. Lüer has removed the screw adjustment which united the syringe to his cannula, he replaced it by a very precise friction adjustment. The cannula itself, made of gold, thus escaping oxidation, is provided with a sharp point which allows very easy puncture. The injection with the old syringe would include the following times: Puncture with the cannula provided with its trocar, removal of the trocar, screwing the syringe onto the trocar, and very slow injection by successive turns of the screw. With Mr. Luer’s syringe we have: Puncture, friction adjustment, quick injection in one shot. The number of times is less and each of them is simpler (L’Union médicale, 1861, p. 125).”

Lüer’s method of hypodermic medication administration was also discussed in a 1947 article in the Journal of History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.

“The third of the great trio of contemporary Parisian instrument makers Lüer (Charriére, Mathieu), discarded entirely the screw-action, and also dispensed with the screw-fitting, which joined needle and syringe, substituting the simple conical nozzle which has remained to this day. The only relic of the screw-piston was a runner which moved up and down on the threaded piston-rod. Lüer’s syringe was the immediate forerunner of the modern hypodermic syringe, although its essential distinguishing features—attached needle and push-pull action—were already present in the Ferguson syringe. The graduation, which Wood added to the barrel of the Ferguson syringe, is on the piston-rod of the Lüer model (Howard-Jones, 1947, p. 217).”


Howard-Jones, N. (1947, Spring). A critical study of the origins and early development of hypodermic medication. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2, 201-249.

Luer, M. (1861). Seringue perfectionnée pour l’injection de substances médicamenteuses. L’Union Médicale: Journal Des Intérēts Scientifiques Et Pratiques, Moraux Et Professionels Du Corps Médical, 12.

  • From the Lusignan syringe collection
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