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Saw - Post Mortem, Henry Disston & Sons, circa 1850 Object Reg. No: SH 850191

Saw - Post Mortem, circa 1850. Made: Disston, Henry & Sons Philadelphia U.S.A. Used for post mortems in a psychiatric hospital, Victoria Australia. The blade of the saw is very crude, almost unshaped. Surgical instrument catalogues of 1905 show the blade rounded at the end and protruding at the lower front corner. Has been suggested that it may have been used for dissecting the skull.
Post-mortem saw is a small carpenter's tenon saw. It has an almost straight tension blade of cast steel (very slightly tapered away from handle end,) a heavy, brass, fixed spine and very fine even teeth. It has a rather ornately shaped, wooden, carpenter's saw handle with horned hand-grip at the top which is attached to the top corner of the broader end of the blade, angled slightly upward by 2 brass rivets, one wider on the top bearing the trade mark.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Office of Psychiatric Services
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 38.50 cm (Height), 13.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, surgical apparatus instruments, death mourning, saws, making history - psych services
Themes this item is part of: Psychiatric Services Collection, Medicine in Society Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MEDICINE & HEALTH
Secondary Classification: Mental Health - Mortuary
Tertiary Classification: tools & equipment
Inscriptions: CAST STEEL/HENRY DISSTON & SONS/WARRANTED/PHILAD'A. U.S.A. engraved on spine.
Manufacturer: Henry Disston & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Circa 1850
Place & Date Used: Victoria, Australia, Circa 1850
References: S. Maw, Son & Sons: Catalogue of Surgical Instruments, Appliances Aseptic Hospital Furniture and Surgical Dressings. London, 1905. and

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