A brown velvet hat that belonged to a street “dentist” or travelling tooth puller in London in the 1820s-50s. It is decorated with 88 decayed human teeth from his former patients, each drilled with a hole and attached with twine.
In the days before anaesthetic, this cap was meant to reassure potential clients that the dentist had “magician-like” skills, and could magically remove your rotten tooth without pain or infection.
He couldn’t. Despite his magical tooth hat, the procedure would hurt like bloody screaming hell as he yanked your decaying molar out of your mouth with his rusty germ-infested tools. But at least you could take a little comfort in the fact that your dentist looked GREAT.
From the Cuming Collection of the Southwark Heritage Archives, London, UK.
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