Only Online Auction

Geneva, Apr 07, 2021

LOT 324

Doctor's scarifier; wrought-iron and brass

CHF 200 - 400

EUR 200 - 400 / USD 250 - 450 / HKD 1,700 - 3,400

Medical instrument, known as a scarifier, used by doctors to perform bloodletting and scarification, made of wrought-iron and bras

Grading System
Grade: AA

Very good

Brand Unsigned, probably France

Material wrought-iron and brass

Length 53.9 mm.

Dimensions 76.6 x 38.1 x 21.8 mm. (case)

Width 26.8 mm.

Thickness 12 mm.

Weight 46 gr. (approx.)

Accessories original fitted case (leather and vellum)



Bleeding (or phlebotomy) is an ancient term for a blood sample taken from a patient to improve his or her condition. Known since antiquity, it was mainly from the 16th to the 18th century that it occupied a predominant place among therapeutic blood practices.

It is recommended by Hippocrates of Kos (c.460 BC – c.370 BC) and Galen (Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus; 129 AD – c.210 AD), in connection with the theory of moods (humoral theory). From the Renaissance onwards, it experienced a resurgence in popularity until it became a real panacea in the 17th century. However, some surgeons criticised it, such as Antoine Lambert (early-17th c. – c.1699) from Marseille, who considered it dangerous because it weakens the patient, being useless in many cases, such as the healing of ulcers. In Le Malade imaginaire (1673), Molière (1622-1673) satirizes the pedantic doctor, in the guise of Diafoirus, who treats all illnesses by bleeding, purging and clysters.

It was heavily criticised from the 18th century onwards, and its practice tended to disappear in the wake of humoral theory at the beginning of the 19th century, except for a few treatments such as that for gout. Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis (1787-1872) demonstrated its uselessness, particularly in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. In France, it was the alienist Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) who suppressed the practice of bleeding in the parisian hospitals of Bicêtre and La Salpétrière. The Austro-Polish physician Józef Dietl (1804-1878) is known to have demonstrated experimentally the harmfulness of the bloodletting practised by default.

Bleeding is still practised today in four medical indications: haemochromatosis, polyglobulia or Vaquez disease, skin porphyria and acute oedema of the lung.


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Important notice – Special conditions Please look carefully at all the photos as they are an integral part of the description. Any defect not mentioned in the descriptions but visible on the photos will be considered as described and cannot lead to any claim. The dimensions are given as an indication and may slightly differ from the measures mentioned by the manufacturers especially for contemporary watches. The photos are not retouched. Colors may differ from reality. For timepieces, we guarantee neither the functioning nor the precision of the movement, nor the water-resistance of the case. In addition, please note that movements, parts of mechanisms or cases may be incomplete. The lots are sold “as is”, described to the best of our knowledge and cannot be returned. Once the online bid is placed by the bidder, it cannot be cancelled.