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Digital Images

Hypodermic syringe, Paris, France, 1851-1900

Science Museum, London

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Credit: Hypodermic syringe, Paris, France, 1851-1900. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


Hypodermic needles came into common use during the second half of the 1800s. This syringe and needle set was made just a handful of years after the hollow needle was invented by Scottish doctor Alexander Wood in 1853 – although French surgeon Charles Pravaz was independently developing a similar device at the same time. Hypodermic needles allow drugs to be injected in the body under the skin. Accompanied by different length needles, this example is made from silver with a glass barrel. Unlike modern syringes, which use a plunger, this syringe works by turning the screw at the top to inject the liquid. This would have been difficult and fiddly and required a skilled operator. The name “Mathieu”, a French surgical instrument maker, is punched into the syringe. maker: Mathieu, Louis-Joseph Place made: Paris, Ville de Paris, Île-de-France, France


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