Site display: Normal | Text Only

My Collection | About Us | Teachers

Find objects

Select from more than one or two options below:

Objects search

Can't find what you're looking for? Try the search below.

Lister-type carbolic steam spray, England, 1869-1890

Joseph Lister (1827-1912) invented the carbolic acid spray in the belief that most infection-causing germs were in the air. The steam spray covered everyone and everything in the operating room or hospital ward with a vapour of carbolic acid or phenol, creating an antiseptic environment. The steam spray meant that an assistant was not required to work a cumbersome pump. Lister eventually abandoned the spray in 1887 as he found that germs carried on fingers, dressings, and the skin of the patient were more important. The spray came with its own disadvantages as inhaling carbolic acid is dangerous.

Object number:

A659648

 

Glossary:

Glossary: antisepsis

The practice of using antiseptic drugs to eliminate harmful micro-organisms.

Glossary: carbolic spray

A disinfectant spray using carbolic acid that was used by Joseph Lister around 1870. Sprayed around the surgical theatre, it could prevent the spread of germs.