Amputation saws and bullet extractors, 16th-18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The first bow frame is an ornate version by Lesueur, France, c 1700, the other saw is by Muller, Germany, c 1700. The first bullet extractor is posibly 17th century, and the second is 16th century. 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). Prior to the invention of antiseptics, amputation was often the treatment of first rather than last resort, to prevent infection spreading through the body from injuries and wounds.