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Record 235/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description Scarificator bleeding set includes bleeder and black box . Brass with top lever that releases bottom blades.

Prior to the Civil War, bleeding to remove "corruptions" was a painful "treatment" that involved making cuts in the patient's skin. The 1845 Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine suggested getting as much as 40 to 50 ounces of blood for serious illnesses. Bleeding was recommended for fevers, inflammation of internal organs, headaches, rheumatism, apoplexy, and for relieving a lot of other symptoms. It was not uncommon for patients, especially children, to faint or even die while bleeding was being performed.

This type of bleeder is known as a scarificator, so named because it made superficial incisions or scratches in the skin. Multi-bladed, the device is spring driven; the depth of the blades could be adjusted and then cocked back, winding up the spring. A release switch allowed the blades to swing around and at the same time make multiple cuts.
Year Range from 1862
Year range to 1865
Material Metal
Object ID 452-6
Object Name Scarificator
Related Publications Oshkosh Public Museum Newsletter, Autumn 2007
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009