Pravaz-Charrière Hypodermic Syringe

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Presented is an early example of an antique Pravaz hypodermic syringe attributed to le fabricant d’instruments de chirurgie, Jean-Frédéric Benoît Charrière

This syringe is made of glass with silver fittings. The threaded piston is advanced by screw action of the butterfly key. The plunger and cannula gaskets are of leather material. This syringe employs the use of a trocar point and sheath as opposed to a beveled needle. An instructions insert is stored inside the case lid regarding the lubrication of the leather plunger. A sticker on top of the case lid says W. W. Ford.

The first illustration of this syringe was published in La Maison Charrière’s 1862 Notice des Instruments de Chirurgie Humaine et Vétérinaire, Appareils et Coutellerie. Other illustrations are found in an 1867 article in le Dictionnaire de Thérapeutique Médicale et Chirurgicale and in an 1896 article in La Presse Médicale.

Two methods of injection may be used:

Method 1

Insertion of trocar-and-cannula through the skin, removal of trocar, attachment of syringe to cannula, and injection (Howard-Jones, 1947, p. 216).

Method 2

Insertion of trocar-and-cannula through the skin, removal of trocar, insertion through original cannula of finer cannula attached to syringe, and injection (Howard-Jones, 1947, p. 216).

The second method has advantage over the first in that air is not introduced into the subcutaneous tissue (Howard-Jones, 1947, p. 216). Each half turn of the piston releases one drop from the cannula (M. H. Collin, 1896, p. 299).


Collin, M. H. (1896). La méthode hypodermique aperçu historique. La Presse Médicale, 299.

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.

  • From the Lusignan syringe collection
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