Tiemann & Co. Hypodermic Syringe

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Presented is a post Civil War reconstruction era hypodermic syringe devised by George Tiemann & Company; manufacturers and importers of surgical instruments.

This antique syringe is composed of glass and nickel-plated brass. The glass cylinder is mounted in a fenestrated metal casing revealing graduations for minims. The barrel is stamped Tiemann & Co. The piston rod is fitted with an adjustable washer to limit the amount of injected medication. The set is complete with two fine gilded steel needles, cleaning wire, and Tiemann’s hypodermic syringe bottle (patented October 9th, 1877). The leatherette covered wood case is lined with fine red velvet and is marked, Geo. Tiemann & Co.

“Great inconvenience is often experienced in filling a hypodermic syringe from the ordinary bottle, because of its narrow neck and its liability to upset. The narrow neck prevents the insertion of the end of the syringe, or, if the syringe is screwed upon the bottle, a partial vacuum is liable to be formed, so that the piston returns when released and often some of the fluid re-enters the bottle. The liability to spill the contents of the bottle is increased by the fact that it has to be removed from the case and stood upright. All these difficulties are overcome by the above improvement, the bottle having the mouth at a right angle to its body and made sufficiently large to admit the nozzle end of the syringe. It need not be removed from the case for the purpose of charging the syringe. You merely turn the neck upward, remove the stopper, insert the syringe into the fluid, and draw upon the piston until the desired quantity of medicine has entered the barrel. The case is made to hold the bottle tightly in any position, so that both may be left on the table during the operation, without fearing for the safety of the glass or its contents. After having operated and replaced the needle and syringe in the case, the bottle is corked and turned back to its former position (Tiemann, 1879, p. 73).”

A well-documented photograph of this syringe is found on page 55 of Edmonson’s book, Nineteenth century surgical instruments: A catalogue of the Gustav Weber collection at the Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine.

Resources

Weber, G. C., & Edmonson, J. M. (1986). Hypodermic Syringes. In Nineteenth century surgical instruments: A catalogue of the Gustav Weber collection at the Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine (pp. 54-55). Historical Division, Cleveland Health Sciences Library.

Hypodermic Medication. (1879). In The American armamentarium chirurgicum (pp. 70-73). New York: George Tiemann & Co.

  • From the Lusignan syringe collection
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