Used to hold engorged tonsils in place during a tonsillectomy
The ends of the forceps are covered in hand-stitched absorbent cotton pads. The number "15" is visible on the instrument. They would be placed in an open position in the mouth and slowly closed over the tonsil to be removed. This prevented tonsillar material falling in the back of the throat causing obstruction or inhalation. Compression also reduced bleeding.
Contact the History of Medicine Collection, https://library.buffalo.edu/historyofmedicine
“Tonsil holder,” Digital Collections - University at Buffalo Libraries, accessed November 27, 2020, https://digital.lib.buffalo.edu/items/show/16864.