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Last reviewed: 11/10/2010
Last updated: 11/10/2010

LDBDA : 006


pelican with double ended wooden shaft and two metal claws. The 2 claws are serrated on the inside and one has a finger hold. Marking in the shape of a mermaid can be seen on one of the arms.

Pelicans were extraction instruments used from the 16th to 18th centuries. They were named after their resemblance to a pelican's beak. Pelicans could be made from wood, metal or ivory. The bolster, which was sometimes covered with leather or linen, would be placed against the gum with the claw over the tooth. The tooth was then prised out sideways. This method could cause a lot of damage to the teeth and gums and could even lead to broken jaws. The claws and bolsters in this example are of different lengths, giving 4 different sized spaces between the claw and the bolster. Later versions were more sophisticated with a screw mechanism which enabled the claw to be adjusted.


shaft wood; claw steel; length 150mm

Image of pelican