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Animation on Lister's Carbolic Spray


In 1867, Joseph Lister published his ground-breaking article “Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery” in the medical journal, The Lancet. This article presented Lister's initial cases where he used what would become his principle of antisepsis. It was in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary that Lister first started using carbolic as an antiseptic, heralding the beginnings of a surgical revolution.

The carbolic spray, however, was mainly employed during Lister's time as a surgeon in Edinburgh. As well as sterilising wounds, Lister aimed to sterilise the surgical environment. Hence, an operator would pump carbolic spray around the operating theatre to eradicate any germs. Unfortunately, this had detrimental effects on practitioners since they were inhaling highly concentrated carbolic acid.

Animation on Lister's Carbolic Spray


Animation on Lister's Carbolic Spray


“Animation on Lister's Carbolic Spray,” Heritage, accessed May 29, 2024,