Material and Medium: Stainless steel
Dimensions: Overall: 18 x 40 x 205mm (11/16 x 1 9/16 x 8 1/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: X1983.150
This is a surgical instrument used to cut through bones during surgery. It was made by J Gray & Son in Sheffield and presented to the Museum in 1983 by the Sheffield Stainless Steel Manufacturers Association as an example product.
Why use stainless steel?
Stainless steel is ideal for medical purposes because as it doesn’t rust so can easily be kept sterile. There are many different types of stainless steel, and depending on the type of use the alloy (mix) recipe is varied. Most surgical equipment is made out of martensitic steel, which is harder than other alloys and easier to keep sharp. Three metallic chemical elements give it special qualities. Chromium gives the steel scratch resistance and corrosion resistance. Nickel gives a smooth and polished finish. Molybdenum gives greater hardness and helps maintain a cutting edge.