Medicine: Tools

Much information and an occasional twinge are provided the layman in the newly published History and Evolution of Surgical Instruments by Dr. C. J. S. Thompson (Schumann's; $8.50). Among many practical saws, knives and pincers illustrated therein, none is more interesting in a mechanical way than the 17th-Century triploides. This was not part of a torturer's tool kit but, as the Latin inscription conveys, a surgeon's device for raising a depressed fracture of the skull.

Many of the chief instruments of surgery were known and used at the time of Hippocrates, 400 B.C., and some of them have changed little since. Some...

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