Jason Clarke Antiques

Eighteenth Century Berlin Made Surgeon's Amputation Saw


For sale, a German made mid-Eighteenth Century surgeon’s amputation saw.

This rare survivor is expertly crafted with an octagonal steel frame with outswept C scrolls to the front of the body and a turned bobbin type decoration across the top rail culminating at the back with a matching octagonal shaped ebony handle. The blade is fixed with a club shaped screw device to keep the tension on the blade, a feature that was pioneered by Walter Herman Ryff in the mid-Sixteenth Century and remains an integral feature of the common hack-saw used for carpentry today.

This particular style of amputation saw can be dated accurately to the early 1770’s where a very similar example (see images) appeared in the important French surgical instrument publication by Jean Jacques Perret entitled, “L’Art du coutelier expert en instruments de chirurgie”. Perret was a master cutler who specialised in the field after attending anatomy classes at the Paris School of Medicine and his manual provides crucial information on the manufacture of medical instruments during the period.

This particular example shows the dissemination of the style across Europe during the period as it is clearly stamped with the place of manufacture, “Berlin” and has the cutler’s mark of an “f” beside it.

The skill involved in creating this historic piece of medical equipment is truly breath-taking, the detail in the turning still remains entirely crisp and the precision with which it is executed is stunning.

The ebony handle has a small hairline crack to the back but remains in good solid condition.  

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