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Modèle de la Scie a Molette de MM. (Alexander) Thomson et Charriere.
Paris, Chez CXharrière, Fabricant d'Instruments et Chez J.B. Baillière Libr., 1835, 8, 14 pp., 1 gefalt. lith Tafel mit 16 Figs., feiner Halbledereinband etwas fleckig. A very rare booklet by Charrière about his improved rowel saw combined with a trepan!First Print - A very rare illustrated publication about a very important and technical neurosurgical saw invented by Charrière and Thompson in 1835 and here described in details. Furthermore, this booklet is one of Charrière's first publications (the fourth according to the bio-bibliography on Frédéric Charrière by Jimmy Drulhon)."In 1816, at the age of 13, Charrière arrived in Paris as an apprentice cutler. Born on 19 March 1803 at Cerniat en Gruyere, in the Swiss canton of Fribourg, where his uncle practiced the same trade, he was raised by his grandfather because his parents had moved to Paris, where his father was employed as a bank clerk. In 1820, after the death of his master, the young Swiss cutler took over the workshop, then situated in the courtyard of St.-Jean-de-Latran on the left bank of the Seine (gone today, as a consequence of urban development). In 1826, Charrière married Madeleine Elisa Berrurier, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a butcher. According to the Notice biographique of Dr. Achille Chéreau (1817-1885), the real commencement of Charrière's career dates from his introduction to Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1839), surgeon-in-chief at the Hôtel Dieu hospital in Paris. Dupuytren made him "his personal supplier, furnishing him with models to emulate, instilling, feeding, in a sense, the spirit of invention and innovation that consumed him, bringing him every morning to the hospital to familiarize him with the operations and to stir his genius for designing instruments. Charrière appreciated from the very outset the advantage of seeing his instruments in action, in trying them or seeing them tried on cadavers."Under Dupuytren's patronage, Charrière's business affairs prospered. Beginning around 1825, according to Dr. Chéreau, "nineteen out of twenty surgeons consigned to him the fabrication of their ordinary instruments, as well as their experimental ones." Important orders came from French and foreign ministries and the Conseil général des hospices de Paris named Charrière principal contractor for prosthetic devices. In 1833 he moved the firms to no.9, rue de I'Ecole-de-Médecine (today these premises are occupied by the Auzoux enterprise, maker of anatomical and natural history models). At the 1834 Exposition of national industry, Charrière received his first medal, which would be followed by innumerable other distinctions. The jury stated that, "rising from simple cutlery artisan, M. Charrière has become head of the largest and most important surgical instrument making establishment. He utilizes, with equal success, French and English steel. His instruments enjoy a reputation for excellence, even superiority, as proclaimed by many surgeons at our hospitals."In 1837, during a visit to England, Charrière mastered the production processes of the British cutlery industry. From that moment on, he never again feared competition from across the Channel.Praise lavished upon him in the published works of physicians and surgeons, in addition to that of expositions, augmented the renown of the instrument maker. Alfred A.L.M. Velpeau (1795-1868), for example, illustrated many of Charrière's instruments in his 'Nouveaux elements de médecine operatorie'. Similarly, in the work of Claude Bernard and Charles Huette, one finds only the instruments of the Charrière firm.At the close of 1842, the enterprise moved across the street, to no. 6, rue de I'École-de-Médecine. The showroom and adjacent workshop were considerably more spacious. According to Dr. Chéreau, who knew Charrière quite well, "a large glass storefront facing the street permitted passersby to witness the magical transformation of steel Dupuytren, personified by a bust of perfect likeness, seemed to continue his watchful protection and inspiration." There was also a "vast, intriguing museum assembled by Charrière, that embodied in material from his labor, his careful research, his invention, which he opened with well-deserved pride to the curious, to young surgeons fascinated with the progress of their art." The granting of permanent residency and naturalization in 1841 and 1843 guaranteed the success of Charrière in France. At the age of forty he became a French citizen. Following the Exposition of 1843 he was named chevalier of the Legion of Honor and was promoted to the rank of off icier in 1851, after the universal exposition of London. Initially, Charrière had been proposed for the highest award at that exposition, but his name was stricken from the list of nominees for reasons yet unclear. The Grand Larousse of 1868 relates that on the occasion of a banquet at the Élysée palace, Louis-Napoléon, then prince-president of the Republic and later Emperor, exchanged his own diamond studded cross [of the Legion of Honor] with the one intended for Charrière, saying: "Permit this exchange henceforth I will wear no other." Charrière had become a national symbol of French industry.In 1852 Charrière ceded management of the firm to his son Jean-Jules, born in 1829, whose inventions he defended in several publications. In 1862, the latter was also named chevalier of the Legion of Honor. In 1865, however, [Jean-Jules] died during an outbreak of cholera in Paris. The father was obliged to enlist the collaboration of his former pupils, Robert and Collin, who published their first large catalogue in 1867. The elder Charrière died on 28 April 1876. By the late 1870s it appears that Adolphe Collin had become the sole senior proprietor of the enterprise. His grandson Pierre Collin and his granddaughter's husband succeeded him. In 1930 the Collin establishment was acquired by the Gentile firm. The auction of the instrument and book collections of the Charrière, Collin, and Gentile enterprises took place in 1978 in Paris.For the present, we can offer only a summary assessment of Charrière's accomplishments. Let us mention first the general points. The jury of the 1839 Exposition of national industry speaks of "the dual relation of the application of science to industry and of industry to commerce."This refers to the close ties between instrument maker and surgeon, as well as the various technical processes pioneered by Charrière, such as the introduction of softened or malleable ivory [ivoire ramolli], the substitution of nickel silver alloy [German silver or maillechort] for silver, and the refinement of steel tempering techniques. In the application of industry to commerce, Charrière reduced product cost sufficiently to stimulate an important, extensive export trade. He achieved this through a division of labor and specialization among his workmen. "A dozen years ago (in 1827) there were barely thirty or forty surgical instrument craftsmen in Paris (in 1839) Charrière alone employed over 150, including sixty in the shops beside his store since each workman specialized in a particular process, they earned 3, 4, and 7 francs daily." Instrument sales attained an annual value of 400,000 francs in 1839.Five years later, in 1844, the workforce numbered about 80 to 90 in Paris and 150 to 200 at Nogent (near Langres) sales figures reached a half million francs, of which two thirds came from exports. In the 1867 catalogue, a long list enumerated new production techniques, such as the stamping press, casting of metals, mass production, and so forth. Quality control assured the reputation of the Charrière firm. The 1849 catalogue indicates that several years prior to 1844 "no article, no matter how humble, leaves our workshops without first being subjected to trials that exceed the most rigorous conditions of normal usage. This applies particularly to instruments whose functioning involves the exertion of pressure." This leads us to a consideration of Charrière's most notable technical achievements. "The mere enumeration of instruments invented or modified by Charrière... would be a colossal undertaking, far exceeding the limits of this review." This is the preliminary remark made by Dr. Chéreau in 1876, and it remains, understandably, valid today.The most remarkable achievements of Charrière deserve mention here. He devoted his utmost attention to commonplace instruments, including for example, scalpels, scissors, forceps, and pocket cases [trousses]. His dressing forceps constitute the point of departure for the development of hemostatic forceps by Jules-Emile Péan (1830-1898) and his successors. The tenon join, first used in 1851, appears to have presaged the design of aseptic instruments.As a specialist in all manner of syringes, Charrière was responsible for producing the [hypodermic] syringe of Charles-Gabriel Pravaz (1791-1853) in 1852. In urology, an emerging discipline in the first half of the nineteenth century Charrière was quite active, particularly regarding lithotomy and lithotrity.As early as 1842, he created the famous gauge for calibrating sounds [bougies] and catheters as a standard unit of measurement he selected one-third of a millimeter. This standard is still in use today.For resections, an important surgical procedure of the period, Charrière modified the chain saw of Heine and in 1834 created the circular saw [scie a molettes] which he combined with a trepan. Today there are two types of amputation saws, the bow saw and the tenon saw the latter still identified with Charrfere's name.In the domain of ophthalmic surgical instruments, a former protégé of Charrière, Georges-Guillaume-Amatus Lüer, seems to have surpassed his master. Lüer was born in Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany, in 1802. (Braunschweig was also the homeland of John Weiss, founder of the celebrated London instrument making firm). From 1830 to 1837, Lüer was Charrière's chief craftsman, and he subsequently opened his own business. He died in 1883, leaving the firm to his son-in-law H. Wülfing (born in Barmen, in Prussia). " Urs Boschung, Joseph-Frederic Benoit Charrière (1803-1876): Paris Surgical Instrument Maker from Switzerland. CADUCEUS, 4/2 (1888): pp. 33-46
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