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Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology   By:

Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology by Audrey Davis

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Audrey Davis and Toby Appel

Smithsonian Institution Press City of Washington 1979


Davis, Audrey, and Toby Appel. Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology. Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology , number 41, 103 pages, 124 figures, 1979. Supported by a variety of instruments, bloodletting became a recommended practice in antiquity and remained an accepted treatment for millenia. Punctuated by controversies over the amount of blood to take, the time to abstract it, and the areas from which to remove it, bloodletters employed a wide range of instruments. All the major types of equipment and many variations are represented in this study of the collection in the National Museum of History and Technology.

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION DATE is handstamped in a limited number of initial copies and is recorded in the Institution's annual report, Smithsonian Year . COVER DESIGN: "Phlebotomy, 1520" (from Seitz, 1520, as illustrated in Hermann Peter, Der Arzt und die Heilkunst , Leipzig, 1900; photo courtesy of NLM).

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Davis, Audrey B Bloodletting instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology. (Smithsonian studies in history and technology; no. 41) Bibliography: p. Supt. of Docs, no.: SI 1.28:41

1. Bloodletting Instruments Catalogs. 2. Bloodletting History. 3. National Museum of History and Technology. I. Appel, Toby, 1945 joint author. II. Title. III. Series: Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian studies in history and technology; no. 41 [DNLM: 1. Bloodletting History. 2. Bloodletting Instrumentation Catalogs. 3. Bloodletting Exhibitions Catalogs.

RM182.D38 617'.9178 78 606043



Preface v

Introduction 1

Sources 2

Bleeding: The History 3 How Much Blood to Take 5 When to Bleed 7 Barber Surgeons 8 Bloodletting and the Scientific Revolution 9 Instrumentation and Techniques 10 Spring Lancets 12 The Decline of Bleeding 15

Cupping 17 Early Cupping Instruments 17 Instruments of the Professional Cupper 21 Cupping Procedure 24 Nineteenth Century Attempts to Improve Cupping Technology 25 Dry Cupping 31 Breast Cupping 32 The Decline of Cupping 34

Leeching 34 Leeches 34 Artificial Leeches 36

Veterinary Bloodletting 40

Physical Analysis of Artifacts 41

Catalog of Bloodletting Instruments 42 Phlebotomy 44 Flint and Thumb Lancets 44 Spring Lancets 44 Bleeding Bowls 47 Extra Blades and Cases 47 Cupping 48 Scarificators 48 Cups 50 Cupping Sets 50 Cupping Apparatus 52 Breast Pumps 52 Leeching 53 Veterinary Bloodletting 53 Fleams 53 Spring Lancets 54 Related Artifacts 55

Notes 57

List of Trade Catalogs Consulted 63

Figures 26 124 64


Among the many catalogs of museum collections, few describe objects related to the practice of medicine... Continue reading book >>

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