Tonsil guillotine, undated. Medical School of Maine Records, Bowdoin College Archives.
The tonsil guillotine was used to perform tonsillectomies, a procedure that required the removal of the tonsils that are located deep in the back of the throat. As the hand contracts and the two arms are brought together the blade is pushed forwards and the tonsil cut. Also known as a tonsillotome, this instrument first came into use in the mid-19th century.