Animation of 17th-Century Skull Surgery Tool

Elevatorium biploidum at Boerhaave MuseumA Dutch reader of the neuroscience blog Retrospectacle recently wrote in to say that he had created an animation of the use of a 17th-century surgical instrument called the Elevatorium biploidum. The instrument was used to raise an indented portion of the skull, as from the wound produced by the low-velocity guns of the day. (The instrument was not actually used for trepanation, as the Retrospectacle article says.) The was invented by the Hague surgeon Cornelis Solingen (1641-1687), and written up in his book, Manuale Operatien der Chirurgien (1684?).

Tip o’ the hat to Mind Hacks for drawing this item to my attention. Mind Hacks also has an item on other neurosurgical instruments online, some of which are for sale. This led me to wonder what thing of this kind might be available on eBay, so I searched, “neurosurgery” with this rather small, but interesting result. It turns out, however, there are thousands of general surgical instruments, both historical and current, available on eBay. Check this “store” out.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.