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Pelican tooth extractor, circa 1750

Pelican tooth extractor, circa 1750

C017/8389

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pelican tooth extractor, made of steel with screw adjustment. These were 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 continental and dates from around 1750.

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Model release not required. Property release not required.

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