Steel and ivory amputation set, 1866-1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This set made by Arnold and Sons, of West Smithfield, London, was a prize winner at the London International Exhibition of 1871. Despite the extravagant workmanship of the instruments, the joints where the handles are attached could have harboured bacteria. The introduction of aseptic surgery in the 1880s and 1890s, which involved sterilization by boiling, made this design of instrument obsolete.