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MID 19TH CENTURY SURGEON’S CASED POCKET INSTRUMENT SET - JOHN EVANS & CO. OF LONDON:  This surgeon’s pocket instrument set, manufactured by John Evans & Company of London, England, is the type commonly carried by the doctor on his rounds, or when away from his office due to its convenient size.  One of the more established maker’s of surgical instruments in England, John Evans & Co. was in business from 1676 through 1874, and this cased set could very well have been used by a regimental surgeon during the Mexican or Civil Wars.   

As noted in “The Navy Surgeon's Chest: Surgical Instruments of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic War”, written by Jonathan Charles Goddard, FRCS (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, London; April, 2004, pages 191-197), in 1812 Evans and Co. located at Old Change, London, provided a list of the instruments which were necessary to complete a naval surgeon’s chest to the College of Surgeons for approval. 

The maker’s label attached to the inside of the cover of this cased instrument set reads, “JOHN EVANS & Co.; SURGICAL INSTRUMENT MAKER; To the Army & Navy; No. 10 Old Change; London”.

This cased set measures 6” long, and 3” wide and 1” thick when closed.  When opened, the case measures 10” long with leather loops and pockets to hold the instruments and other surgical materials.  The red Moroccan leather case retains the fully legible and complete maker’s label on the inner surface of the front cover.  The metal clasp on the front of the case will engage the catch and hold the case shut.  The case was certainly carried on a daily basis by the doctor, but shows only minimal wear and aging and still retains its form.   

The instruments contained in the set are as follows:

*  A tortoise shell handled folding scalpel, marked “EVANS, OLD CHANGE”.

*  A tortoise shell handled folding scalpel with a narrow curved blade, marked “EVANS”.

*  A tortoise shell handled folding scalpel with a straight blade, unmarked.

*  A tortoise shell handled folding fine toothed saw, with a locking mechanism, unmarked.

*  A tortoise shell handled folding curved probe, marked “EVANS, LONDON”.

*  A tortoise shell handled folding probe, unmarked.

*  A bone handled instrument with a silver socket threaded on to the end. 

*  A 5 ˝” long large scale sewing needle

*  There is a small, green enameled leather pocket under the bottom flap which contains one curved suture needle.   

This is a very desirable, early surgeon’s pocket instrument set made by a well known English maker that has survived in very nice condition and is representative of the pocket sets carried by surgeons in the field or aboard naval vessels.  (0347) $300

NOTE:  A special note of thanks is due to Dr. Michael Echols, owner of American Civil War Medical & Surgical Antiques for his time and assistance in identifying and properly dating this surgeon’s set.  Dr. Echol’s web site is well worth visiting - - even if your primary interest field is not medical antiques – if nothing else, it will make you appreciate modern medicine.



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