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Molar millinery


Sir, the paper by Malcolm Bishop on Henry Chettle is most interesting.1 In particular, Chettle's reference to the tooth-drawer Kind-Hart's 'thrumde hat', that 'had hanging at it the ensignes of my occupation', which reminded me of the example in the Cuming Museum, Southwark, London. The medical historian, Ruth Richardson and I took photographs of the hat, decorated with extracted teeth, some ten years ago and she subsequently used one of these in her publication in The Lancet2 (Figs 12). The OED defines Thrum (vt) as: 'Provide or decorate with thrums or ends of threads; cover with thrums or small tufts, raise a nap on (cloth); fringe.' Also, Thrum cap: 'a cap made of thrums'. It seems likely that 'thrumde' is a misprint for 'thrumed' (or 'thrummed') or was the accepted spelling of the time.

Figure 1
figure 1

A hat featured in the Cuming Museum, decorated with extracted teeth

Figure 2
figure 2

A hat featured in the Cuming Museum, decorated with extracted teeth


  1. 1

    Bishop M . The ethics of dental practice in London in the sixteenth century. 1. Henry Chettle's Kind-Harts dreame of 1592. An important lay view. Br Dent J 2012; 213: 27–30.

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  2. 2

    Richardson R . From the medical museum. A dentrificator's relic. Lancet 2002; 359: 1869.

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Hillam, D. Molar millinery. Br Dent J 213, 331 (2012).

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