Physical description

From Neurological Society of Australia. Wooden case with key. Contents (12 parts) include trephines, various sizes; perforator; key; ebony trephine handle; Hey skull saw; elevator; steel forceps; brush; lenticular; five pointed rugine. 18th or early 19th century.TREPHINE & SKULL SAW IN CASE OF SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS:
This set of surgical instruments contains, in a wooden case covered with shagreen:
two trephines and a perforator , with a key to remove the trephine centring pins
a detachable ebony handle
a Hey skull saw with the name BLACKWELL
an elevator
a pair of steel forceps
a bone or ivory brush to clean the trephines
a lenticular
a 5-pointed rugine.
The trephines are conical, with slight tapering to prevent over- penetration; they
are approximately 17 and 20 mm in diameter. Each has a sharp centring point, which
can be removed. Hand trephines are operated with one hand, being rotated like a gimlet, by
alternating pronation and supination of the forearm, which also exe1ts downward pressure.
The skull saw was used where trephining was difficult, as in some depressed
fractures; it was popularised by William Hey (1736-1819) of Leeds, though described by
earlier writers. Hey, a Yorkshireman, studied in St George's Hospital, London, but worked with
great distinction in the Leeds General Infirmary. The lenticular, a curious instrument seen in
many eighteenth century illustrations, was used to smooth the margins of bone defects. The
rugine could be used to scrape granulations.
The design of the trephines and of most of the other instruments strongly suggests an
English origin, probably in the eighteenth century. A very similar trephine is figured by the
London surgeon Percivall Pott2 in 1779. Bennion l [ists three instrument makers named
Blackwell, none earlier than 1817.
Most of the instruments have been plated, presumably with nickel, at a date that must be
much later. The nickel plating shows little sign of wear.