Steel bullet extractor, German, 17th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
From the D E Hollander collection. The use of gunpowder increased in the 15th century, and this affected medicine because wounds caused by guns and cannon were different to those made by swords and arrows. New instruments were devised to extract bullets (many people believed bullet wounds were poisonous). This type of extractor has claws which could be used to grasp the bullet, while other types could be screwed into the soft lead of the bullet before pulling it out. By the 18th century the use of instruments to remove bullets was firmly established.