American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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Bone Forceps:

A comparison of 1829 to 1886 and Civil War Forceps

by Dr. Michael Echols

This article is a survey of 40 plus surgical medicine sets in this collection ranging from 1820's to 1886 to demonstrate the various forms and designs of bone forceps.  The various photos can be used to determine the approximate age of unknown forceps and to illustrate the changes in design through the 1800's.  Unfortunately, bone forceps are the most often missing item in surgery set.  I suspect that is due to the usefulness of the cutting forceps for a wide range of materials and thus their removal by someone other than a doctor.  The same can be said for scissors.

Remember, these instruments were custom fitted to the cases and should fit precisely to the velvet lined slots.  The form of the head and type of handles of the forceps can be very helpful in determining the era or maker.  Most heavy duty forceps are imprinted with the maker name and city.  NONE of these instruments are stainless steel or chrome plated because those processes did not exist until post 1880's.   If you see flaked chrome's post-1880 to be sure.

Tiemann 1880's catalog

See similar articles on dating tourniquets, saws, bone forceps, forceps, or amputation knives.

Click on images (from this collection surgical sets) to enlarge

c. 1829 Rose bone forceps
c. 1840 J. H. Gemrig bone forceps
c. 1850 M. Wocher bone forceps
c. 1846 Goulding U. S. Army Hospital Dept. bone forceps
c. 1850 Martin bone forceps (top) and muscle retractor
c. 1850 Geo. Tiemann bone forceps (top)
c. 1850's J. H. Gemrig bone forceps.  Satterlee's design, typically used in the early years of the Civil War.
c. 1855 J. Teufel bone forceps
c. 1863 Wade and Ford bone forceps from a civilian issue set, typically used later during the Civil War and into the late1870's
c. 1861-64 Tiemann U. S. Army Hospital Department Civil War issue bone forceps which are in a field surgery set.
c. 1861-64 Kolbe' U. S. Army Hospital Department  Civil War issue bone forceps which are in a bone resection set for hospital use.

These are standard issue for the Hospital Department to their specifications.

c. 1865 Hernstein, U. S. Army Hospital Department Civil War issue bone forceps which are in a bone resection set.

These are prime examples of the type and design of  bone forceps one could expect in Hospital Department sets from the Civil War era.  They may vary by maker, but the design is similar due to the Hospital Department specifying what they wanted in a given set for hospital use.

c. 1861-64 Hernstein, U. S. Army Hospital Department Civil War issue bone forceps from a small field set.
c. 1868 Gemrig bone forceps and metacarpel saw
c. 1870's Shepard and Dudley, and post Civil War as Shepard and Dudley never made instruments marked with their name during the Civil War
c. 1870 Gemrig bone forceps from a resection set
c. 1860's J. H. Gemrig bone forceps
c. 1870's Kern bone foreceps
c. 1870's Aloe & Hernstein bone forceps
c. 1880 Gemrig bone forceps
c. 1880's Sharp & Smith bone forceps and a director (top)
c. 1886 Helmond bone forceps

Below: Civil War bone forceps, early and later examples

1860's Gemrig

Later and larger Liston style bone forceps

mvc-239s.jpg (22382 bytes)

1850's Gemrig

Earlier and smaller Satterlee's bone forceps

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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
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Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016