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Digital Images

Distender, England, 1700-1800

Science Museum, London

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
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Credit: Distender, England, 1700-1800. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work

Description

This standard surgical instrument is reputedly from the Tower of London. It appears to have been used as a torture implement. The jaws of the distender separate when the thumbscrew is turned and can forcibly open a mouth. The distender is embossed with the maker’s name, ‘Gill’. It was supposedly found at the Tower after a fire in 1841. Torture was used in the Tower to extract information from prisoners. However, contrary to popular belief only a small proportion of prisoners were tortured. maker: Gill Place made: England, United Kingdom


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