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Pelican tooth extractor, circa 1750

Pelican tooth extractor, circa 1750

C017/8382

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Adjustable pelican, tooth extractor, with screw mechanism. Pelicans are an early type of dental forceps, so named due to their claw which was thought to resemble a pelican's beak. Tooth extraction is the earliest known dental procedure, it was used as a last-resort cure for toothache. Pelican extractors originated in the fourteenth century and by the 1500s they had become the most popular tool for tooth-drawing amongst barber surgeons and practitioners. No two alike, each pelican extractor would have been individually designed to order. This example is English and dates from around 1750.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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