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Needle Sharpener as used by the Red Cross Blood Service

Acknowledgment: The pamphlet and diagrams explaining the mechanism and its use have been kindly provided by Terry Omond OAM, curator of the Calvary Hospital museum.

Before disposable single use needles became available, surgical needles were used many times and had to be resterilised and resharpened. The instructions are dated 18.8.1944, and the apparatus was used by the Red Cross Blood Service. The components were all metal on a wood base, and consisted of an adjustable chuck to hold the needle and a double slide mechanism which advanced the honing stone to contact the needle point. Sliding the needle against the stone enabled it to be resharpened.

Both the chuck and stone could be manipulated in several directions in order to provide preset bevel and facets for the needle. Once an appropriate position was obtained the adjusting screws were tightened and the needle sharpened by a sliding motion.

Superior view of apparatus with the opening for the needle in the center of the chuck.


Lateral view, showing the stone, the chuck, and the various screws to adjust their position relative to the needle which is in contact with the stone

Far left: Bevels and facets of sharpened needle.

On right: UK and USA units of needle size.