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Seventeenth-century surgeon’s tools would appear dirty and grotesque to the modern observer. The existence of bacteria and germs was unknown and tradesmen avoided washing metal tools with water because it encouraged rusting. Instead, surgeons wiped their tools, if they cleaned them at all. Saws, knives, scalpels, clamps, hooks and probes made up the surgeon’s arsenal.

—- Source: http://www.ehow.com/info_8329206_17th-century-surgeons.html#ixzz2BXXQrUrG

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