Help dating this old English fleam

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Help dating this old English fleam

Postby Rookie » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:01 am

My grandfather asked me to help him find out how old this fleam is, and if there is any extra information anyone can provide. It is an imitation tortoise shell handled bloodletting fleam, with black leather wrapped 2 part sheath.

The blade area is stamped with a crown symbol, and then "Evans Old Chang London". The back side of the blade is blank. All my knife ID books with English crown symbols don't show any with a crown only, with no other letters or symbols beside it.

Any assistance from experts here would be very much appreciated.
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Re: Help dating this old English fleam

Postby Greenman » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:01 am

The item in your photographs is not a fleam; it’s actually a different surgical instrument known as a thumb lancet. The blade stamping should read “Evans / Old Change / London”. According to McPheeters Antique Militaria, an online seller of antique militaria (link provided below), John Evans & Co. was a well-established British maker of surgical instruments, in business from 1676 to 1874 and located at No. 10 Old Change, London. Your grandfather’s thumb lancet most likely dates from the mid nineteenth century. The tortoise shell handles on the lancet (are you certain they’re imitation?) preclude proper sterilisation techniques and would so date it to the period before the advent of Joseph Lister’s antiseptic surgical methods (first proposed by Lister in 1867 and adopted over the course of the following few decades).

http://www.mcpheetersantiquemilitaria.c ... em_022.htm
Josh

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Re: Help dating this old English fleam

Postby Rookie » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:14 pm

This is wonderful information, thank you very much! I have personally never seen real tortoise shell handles, so assumed these were imitation because they look/feel smooth like plastic. But I could be wrong. Thanks again.
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