Revolutionary War era Tooth Extractor known as the English Key
Iron straight post construction with hardwood handle. Right up to the 18th Century, the pelican or forceps were used to extract teeth by exerting lateral force on the tooth. By the early 1700's, the forceps were modified into what became known as the key of Garengeot. It was at first supposed that Garengeot had invented the key name for him (bent shall type of iron tooth key with molded stem and turned bone handle). However, the key was used prior to Garengeot's use and attributed to German origin. The instrument was far more efficient for extracting teeth and was in general use throughout the 18th Century and beyond. John Aitkin perfected the English key in 1771 which tendered the extraction of teeth easier and less liable to fracture the jaw, teeth, or gums. George Washington would have been well acquainted with this item. During the colonial era, tooth removal could end of in serious infection and death. This piece actually saved lives, as gruesome as it sounds!