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Syringes with Case
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Syringes are used by doctors either to push something into the body or to draw something out of it. In either case, a needle is attached to its end, and the plunger is pulled or pushed. The leatherette cover of this portable syringe case dates it to around 1900, as does the plated metal syringe. Neither instrument has wood components on it, as earlier examples would have. Prior to the 1880s, medical instruments often had rare and expensive wood elements, because doctors could afford them and they added an air of elegance to their instruments. But Joseph Lister's work in the importance of a sterile hospital environment meant that by the late 1880s hospital instruments began being sterilized against germs. The old wooden components could not withstand the steam used in sterilizing instruments.
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