A Twelve-Piece Field Surgical Kit, by Flatters & Garnett Ltd of Manchester, supplied by S Rampling of Market St, Cambridge


Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1915-20
Unfurled Length: 16 inches
Unfurled Height: 10 inches
Compact: 7.5 inches x 3 inches

A comprehensive twelve-piece field surgeons kit, crafted by Flatters & Garnett Ltd of Manchester with the canvas roll bearing the suppliers name of S.Rampling of Cambridge. 

The set is in good all round condition with many of the twelve pieces stamped with the makers name and two having ivory handles. This ensemble was probably made during, or in the aftermath, of World War I; though whether it ever served its intended purpose is difficult to say. Though field kits such as this perhaps seem ancient by today's standards, the instruments are made of the finest metals and with extreme precision.

Abraham Flatters, one of the joint founders of Flatters & Garnett, was born in 1848 near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. Charles Garnett was born in 1843, near Warrington. In 1897, Garnett joined the Manchester Microscopical Society and met Flatters. By 1901, Flatters was having financial problems in his business and Garnett went into partnership with him. Flatters & Garnett Ltd opened a chemists shop at 46, Deansgate, and predominantly displayed microscopes and lanternslides.

The tasks of a field surgeon, included amputation and bullet extraction, and thus could be rather horrific. With a farmhouse, barn, or the cover of a tree acting as the operating room, radical surgery took place in the crudest conditions. With no more than a rag to wipe his hands, the surgeon would then begin the examination of the wounded soldier with precious little time to ponder his next move…