Artificial Leg from Civil War Period-The American Civil War Caused the Start of the American Prosthetics Field

For those who could pursue a prosthetic, in the North, the most popular artificial leg was a “Palmer” leg, named for Benjamin Franklin Palmer, who patented the design. A previous design by James Potts was made of wood, leather, and cat-gut tendons hinging the knee and ankle joints, and dubbed “The Clapper” for the clicking sound of its motion. Palmer improved upon this design with a heel spring in 1846, Palmer’s leg cost about $150.

In the South, North Carolina responded quickly to the needs of its citizens. It became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees. The General Assembly passed a resolution in February 1866 to provide artificial legs, or an equivalent sum of money (seventy dollars) to amputees who could not use them. Because artificial arms were not considered very functional, the state did not offer them, or equivalent money (fifty dollars), until 1867. While North Carolina operated its artificial limbs program, 1,550 Confederate veterans contacted the government for help.

Source: http://ncpedia.org/history/cw-1900/amputations Source: http://www.ilsegnodeltempo.com/shop/a-rare-prosthesis-of-the-american-civil-war-una-rara-protesi-della-guerra-civile-americana/ Source: http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-civil-war-and-prosthetic-limbs-12.html

 

1 year ago on 05/22/13 at 06:24pm
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    We have an exhibit on this at the International Museum of Surgical Science. It’s a fascinating part of history!
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