Syringe  

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"Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction." --The Sign of the Four

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A syringe is a simple piston pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube (the barrel), allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube. The open end of the syringe may be fitted with a hypodermic needle, a nozzle, or tubing to help direct the flow into and out of the barrel. Syringes are often used to administer injections, apply compounds such as glue or lubricant, and measure liquids.

The word "syringe" is derived from the Greek συριγξ syrinx = "tube" via back-formation of a new singular from its Greek-type plural "syringes" (συριγγες syringes)

Historical timeline

  • The first piston syringes were used in Roman times. During the 1st century AD Aulus Cornelius Celsus mentions the use of them to treat medical complications in his De Medicina.
  • 9th century AD: The Iraqi/Egyptian surgeon Ammar ibn 'Ali al-Mawsili' created a syringe in the 9th century using a hollow glass tube, and suction to remove cataracts from patients' eyes, a practice that remained in use until at least the 13th century.
  • c. 1650: Blaise Pascal invented a syringe (not necessarily hypodermic) as an application of what is now called Pascal's law.
  • 1844: Irish physician Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle and used it to make the first recorded subcutaneous injections, specifically a sedative to treat neuralgia.
  • 1853: Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood developed a medical hypodermic syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin.
    • Alexander Wood experimented with injected morphine to treat neuralgia. He and his wife became addicted to it. His wife was the first woman to die of an injected drug overdose.
  • 1946: Chance Brothers in Smethwick, Birmingham, England produce the first all-glass syringe with interchangeable barrel and plunger, thereby allowing mass-sterilisation of components without the need for matching them.
  • 1956: New Zealand pharmacist and inventor Colin Murdoch was granted New Zealand and Australian patents for a disposable plastic syringe.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Syringe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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