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Oval copper bed warmer, England, 1881-1910

After first opening the screw cap on the top and filling near to the brim with boiling water, this bed warmer would be placed in a bed to heat it up for the patient. This was a common way of warming cold hospital beds before wards were adequately heated. When the patient was ready for bed the warmer was removed. Copper is an ideal material for a bed warmer as it is a good conductor of heat.

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Glossary: bed warmer

Device for warming beds. Usually metal, and containing embers from the fire.

Glossary: nursing

The study and practice of caring for and waiting on the sick, injured, or others unable to look after themselves or to deal with their specific medical needs.

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