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Trade card for John Best, surgical instrument maker, London, England, 1600-1800

John Best’s surgical instrument making business, based in London, is advertised by this trade card. The card has illustrations of the instruments he made, such as fleams for bloodletting, trephination drills and bits, razors, scissors, lancets and penknives.

Object number:

1987-914

 

Glossary:

Glossary: advertisement

A public notice or announcement especially one advertising goods or services in newspapers, on posters, or in broadcasts

Glossary: trade card

Printed sheets, and later cards, bearing tradesmen's advertisements, often including an engraved illustration; produced from the 17th through the 19th century. Cards made later often included the name and address of a business concern and the name of its representative, and intended more for information than for advertising, use "business cards." For cards made later and distributed for advertisement, use "advertising cards," and for those made later and issued primarily to be collected, with or without advertisements on them, use "collecting cards."

Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: fleam

A sharp instrument used for opening veins, lancing gums etc.

Glossary: lancets

A surgical instrument of various forms, commonly sharp-pointed and two-edged. The lancet is used in venesection (the act of opening a vein for bloodletting), and in opening abscesses.

Glossary: trephination

The removal of a circular piece of the top of the head. This is done using a sharp implement or circular saw, and was common in Neolithic times. It is thought that the aim was to release evil demons or spirits from the body in the hope this would cure the person of their illness.

Glossary: bloodletting

Puncturing a vein in order to withdraw blood. A popular medical practice for over two thousand years. Bloodletting often involved withdrawing large quantities of blood in the belief that this would cure or prevent many illnesses and diseases. The practice has been abandoned for all but a few very specific conditions.

Glossary: engraving

A technique to obtain prints from an engraved surface. Engraving is the practice of cutting into a hard, usually flat surface.