Case of amputation instruments, Scottish, late 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The case contains a wooden-handled field tourniquet, sutures, asorted knives (the small ones for cutting skin, the large ones for cutting muscle), a small saw for amputating fingers and toes and a surgical saw with a screw to tighten the blade. One of the saws is signed 'Boog', this was an Edinburgh firm which pased through several generations of the family from 1748-1859. 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.