An early 20th century set of Tarnier traction forceps with a detattachable handle by which a second operator could apply force to deliver the baby’s head.
The French obstetrician Stephan Tarnier designed these forceps in 1877. By pulling from a vantage point below the blades of the forceps an assistant could significantly aid the delivery in cases of arrested labour which might otherwise have necessitated craniotomy. The idea behind the forceps was to separate the securing of the baby’s head between the blades from the forceful application of traction required to pull the head along the axis of the birth canal. These forceps were in common use leading up to the refinement of successful caesarian sections, themselves made viable by the advent of anaesthesia.
- From the Phisick collection