British Army Towel Clamp

A towel clamp is a surgical instrument that is used to grasp something, usually a cotton swab, and hold it securely in its jaws during a medical procedure. The British Army had an extensive medical corps by the First World War and used many thousands of surgical instruments such as the towel clamp we are considering today:

The towel clamp is rather like a pair of scissors, but instead of blades on the ends, it has a pair of triangular shaped grasping paddles:

Note the serrations to aid grip on whatever is being held in these jaws. The opposite end of the clamp has a pair of finger holes and a tab and hook to allow the jaws to be clamped shut so manual pressure is not needed to hold them closed:

As with all British Army equipment, this clamp is stamped with a /|\ property mark next to the maker’s name:

In this case they are made by Arnold and Sons. This London based company had been in operation from the nineteenth century and supplied every conceivable medical and dental instrument a practitioner might require. The company was bought out in 1928 by Savory and Moore so this instrument must predate that point and most likely was in use during the Great War.

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