Firing irons, probably British, c 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Firing irons, made of steel and wood, were used by vets as a method of counter-irritation. Other traditional counter-irritation applications included mineral and herbal irritants, masage, and setons. Different degrees of counter-irritation were prescribed, ranging from the mild stimulating properties of a body wash to the extreme burns perpetrated by mineral blisters and firing irons.