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.

Physical Description

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.


Example of surgical equipment used in psychiatric hospitals in Victoria Australia

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