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Urethral syringe


This syringe was one of three recovered from the surgeon’s cabin of the Mary Rose.

Of the three it is the only one made of pewter, with a bronze needle and a leather washer on the plunger. It measures 260mm with a plunger of 150mm.

Syringes such as this were used for urethral irrigations, inserted into the urethra and flushing it out with caustic fluids, such as mercury, which would burn off sores caused by diseases such as syphilis.

We feel we should add that, although traces of mercury were recovered from the surgeon’s chest, none of the human remains showed traces of syphilis!