The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
92/1759 Trephine, metal / ebony wood, maker unknown, place of production unknown, 1820-1900. Click to enlarge.

Hand-operated trephine

Made
  • 1820-1900
This surgical instrument, called a trephine, was made in the 1800s and used as a saw to remove a disc of bone from the skull. Like early surgical instruments it has an ebony (wooden) handle with hatching to provide grip. Grooves, crevices, decorative trims and porous materials on instruments all provided harbours for bacteria.

Summary

Object No.

92/1759

Object Statement

Trephine, metal / ebony wood, maker unknown, place of production unknown, 1820-1900

Physical Description

Hand-operated trephine comprising a metal shaft with an adjustable screw pin and an ebony handle fitted at a right angle to the shaft. The end of the shaft is fitted with a circular serrated cutting end.

Marks

No marks.

Dimensions

Height

112 mm

Width

94 mm

Production

Made

  • 1820-1900

Notes

The trephine was probably made between 1820-1900. The design of this instrument, with small modifications, was standard from c. 1820 throughout the nineteenth century and into the 20th century (ref. Bennion, Antique Medical Instruments, Univ. California Press, 1979, pp. 27-33). However, by the late nineteenth century, the ebony handles were being replaced by aseptic, i.e. metal, handles.

History

Notes

The trephine is a circular surgical saw for removing a disc of bone from the cranium. The centre pin is for engaging the instrument in the skull, while the saw is rotated by the handle. A trepanning operation might be carried out to remove broken bone pieces, relieve pressure on the brain after an injury or remove a brain tumour.

Source

Credit Line

Source unknown

Acquisition Date

16 September 1992

Cite this Object

Harvard

Hand-operated trephine 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 September 2020, <https://ma.as/122978>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/122978 |title=Hand-operated trephine |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}