Perforator, London, England, 1851-1900
A perforator was a destructive tool used to pierce the skull of a dead foetus. This was done to remove the foetus from the womb in pieces to save the mother's life. This example was designed by Scottish surgeon William Smellie (1697-1763). Smellie was the wealthiest and most influential man-midwife of his generation. He designed and adapted obstetric instruments. He also wrote a bestselling practical midwifery handbook. This perforator was made in Smithfield in the City of London by surgical instrument makers Arnold and Son.
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A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.
Glossary: obstetrical perforator