Scalpel or Ink Eraser

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just bob
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Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by just bob » Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:11 pm

Looking at images on Google and wonder if you only have a picture to go by is there a sure-fire way to tell the difference between a vintage scalpel and vintage ink eraser? The maker of the item would be a huge clue, but if you only have a picture, it's hard to determine the maker - at least for me. Sorry about the pic I'm working with a new software editing program.
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by peanut740 » Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:25 pm

All of those pictured appear to be ink erasers.
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by Gunsil » Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:31 pm

I agree with Roger, those shown are all ink erasers. They are often advertised as scalpels (the longer blade ones) although they are not, and the short bladed ones are sometimes advertised as fleams or bleeders which they aren't.

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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by Ridgegrass » Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:33 pm

Those are not scalpels. They are ink "scrapers"/erasers. I have seen them advertised as "Civil War Scalpels" even "found on the battlefield" . Just last month I showed an antique dealer a picture of page 496 in Levine's "GUIDE" I keep on my phone for just such occasions.(He didn't change the tag.)
God help the poor patients who went "under the ink eraser"! :D J.O'
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by ea42 » Fri Sep 23, 2022 4:46 pm

Napanoch had a contract with the New York City school system to supply the schools with ink erasers:
Napanoch Ink Erasers 2.jpg
Napanoch Ink Erasers.jpg
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by Ridgegrass » Fri Sep 23, 2022 6:18 pm

Now that's a collectible! ::tu:: J.O'.

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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by FRJ » Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:03 pm

Ridgegrass wrote:
Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:33 pm
God help the poor patients who went "under the ink eraser"! :D J.O'
::woot:: ::woot:: .......... :lol:
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by just bob » Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:33 pm

But when just looking at a picture how do you define the difference between a scalpel and an ink eraser? I don't disagree that those are all ink erasers. This is a Google pic I found of an old scalpel. There may be better pics available? Will a scalpel always be designed with a dual edge and a point on the end? If not, what characteristics does a scalpel have that an ink eraser does not?
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by FRJ » Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:55 pm

just bob wrote:
Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:33 pm
what characteristics does a scalpel have that an ink eraser does not?
I think a scalpel would be extremely sharp where an ink erasure is designed to remove ink from vellum by scraping it away. It would have a somewhat refined edge but not near as sharp as a scalpel.
This is my vague understanding of the two tools. I have not used an erasure and I hope never to use a scalpel.
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by Ridgegrass » Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:18 pm

They are not even similar. A scalpel is super sharp and thin for slitting, even more so than a razor. Whereas an ink eraser has a far different edge geometry and is thicker with a saber-type grind to give lateral strength for scraping sideways. In 40+ years of anatomy/physiology dissections most scalpels we used had replaceable blades or were totally disposable with plastic handles. I haven't seen a scalpel that could be resharpened in many, many years. Not to belabor the point but if you ever see a surgeon approach you with an ink eraser, get up and run like the devil. :D J.O'.

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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by ea42 » Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:28 pm

Ink erasers most always had a bulbous sharpened edge, whether it was on one side or both (the spear versions) as you show in your first post. The bulbous part was the only edge that was sharpened. The scalpels have a longer, thin curved edge that's sharpened all the way to the tang like a knife blade or razor. They don't have that bulbous protrusion. They're also usually highly polished.

J.O. sorry about this redundant post, I must have been composing it while you posted ::dang::
scalpel.jpg

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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by btrwtr » Sat Sep 24, 2022 12:43 am

Even though salpels are always much more delicate and refined in appeaence I have seen many more ink erasers described as scalpels than ink erasers described as ink erasers.
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just bob
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by just bob » Sat Sep 24, 2022 1:04 am

btrwtr wrote:
Sat Sep 24, 2022 12:43 am
Even though salpels are always much more delicate and refined in appeaence I have seen many more ink erasers described as scalpels than ink erasers described as ink erasers.
\\


Therein lies the confusion
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by just bob » Sat Sep 24, 2022 1:30 am

Here's a possibility - desk scalpel and there are several of them for sale on eBay if you do a search. I just love the ingenuity of eBay sellers. Maybe there is also a surgical ink eraser? Might work on tattoos?


https://www.ebay.com/itm/275074249330?h ... R5ym1NHtYA
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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by tongueriver » Sat Sep 24, 2022 1:56 am

First of all, if a civil war surgeon approached you with ANYTHING, just give up the ghost and get it over with. When I was a kid I toyed with taxidermy and had a few scalpels around, including this one and a couple with replaceable blades. This is one of those deals wherein if you handle one or two of each category you will never mistake what they are. Trying to learn it from images is tougher.
scalpel002.jpg

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Re: Scalpel or Ink Eraser

Post by Ridgegrass » Sat Sep 24, 2022 12:51 pm

If we banned the words "early" , "vintage", and maybe "Civil War Era" from e=bay and antique malls what a wonderful world this would be. :D
Apologies to you honest traders, but , as Just Bob said, the Ingenuity of some folks.............. J.O'.

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