©Wellcome Library, London

Early hypodermic syringes and needles were used a number of times before disposal and may not always have been subject to rigorous cleaning between patients. The first hollow needles, such as this one, were relatively thick and caused discomfort particularly when blunt. Needle ‘phobia' quickly became a well recognised phenomenon among patients.

Source: John Dixon Comrie (1875-1939). History of Scottish medicine. Wellcome Historical Medical Library, London 1932.