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Scrub brush in chrome box

Item details

Object number M-351
Manufacturer Richard Thompson
Place London
Date 1930s
Category Surgical tools and equipment
Material Wood, bristle, chrome


From the middle of the 19th century, hand antisepsis by the surgeon along with disinfection of the surgical site were considered to be vital in reducing surgical site infection rates.  By the 1930s a 7-minute handwash with soap, water and a brush followed by the application of 70% ethanol and drying with a towel was the recommended pre-surgery protocol. The lidded chrome box for this scrub brush allowed for sterilisation of the brush in between procedures and portability for use in a variety of settings. Disposable brushes or brush-sponges took over from such re-usable brushes from the 1960s onwards. The chrome box is stamped ‘Hatrick London’ - possibly the name of the suppliers.