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Record 236/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description This fleam (real name of this tool) is a medical tool made of metal with 3 moveable iron blades that fold together to close. Each long tabular section has a triangular blade which extends perpendicularly near one end of the copper/brass cover shaped like the blades. Cutting edges worn/jagged. Imprinted on one of the blades: BORWICK

Early museum record claim "very old Oshkosh."

A fleam is a type of bleeding tool. 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. It can have from one to three blades that fold out like a Swiss Army knife. Fleams were often used on animals but those with smaller blades were utilized on humans as well. Imagine the farm family that perhaps applied these blades on both themselves and their livestock.
Dimensions H-0.25 W-3.5 L-5.5 inches
Dimension notes
Year Range from 1850
Year range to 1900
Material Metal
Object ID 715-3
Object Name Lancet
Related Publications Oshkosh Public Museum Newsletter, Autumn 2007
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009