Smellie's obstetrical forceps, c 1820.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These short obstetrical forceps follow the basic design created by the English surgeon, William Smellie (1697-1763), in 1751. The forcep blades are designed with two curves: the cephalic curve to fit the child's head, and the pelvic curve to correspond to the curve of the mother's pelvis. The blades fit together in deep notches known as the 'English Lock'. This pair of forceps is made out of metal covered in leather and would not have been very easy to clean.