Balling irons, 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A balling iron is an instrument used for administering solid medicine to cattle and horses, usually in the form of capsules. The medicine is placed in the back of the mouth that it will have to be swallowed whole. Left: lyre-shaped balling iron, probably British; centre: open sided balling iron, also probably British; right: balling iron made by Arnold and Sons of London, c 1866-1900.