J. H. Gemrig was a
surgical instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pa. during 1840 to 1881 in various
forms (alone, with his brother, and with his son). During the Civil War,
Gemrig was a major supplier of surgical sets under contract to the Union forces.
His company was located at 48 N. 6th from 1841 to 1844, at S. 8th in 1845, 43 S,
8th from 1846 to 1865. All dates are from the
Directory of Makers and Dealers as listed by Edmonson in American Surgical
Instruments: an Illustrated History:
Jacob H. Gemrig surgical instrument maker 1841-44: 48 N. 6th
1845: 49 S. 8th
1846-65: 43 S. 8th
1866-80: 109 S. 8th
set, which dates c. 1850 has an internal lining
which is not completely of fabric. The sides of the inside are lined with a heavy,
textured, colored paper. The outside bottom of the case is covered with a fabric. All other areas
are a red velvet as would be expected. See a similar, but a little
earlier set on page 47 of Edmonson.
blade of the capital saw is indicative of an earlier design found during the
1850's. The slotted blade started in England
during the 1840's as a way to eliminate bone sawdust during sawing and was copied by
only a few American makers in the 1850's, Tiemann and Gemrig being two of the
more notable. The Satterlee bone forceps date to post-1850.
wood tray fits over the saws in the lower part of the case. A feature
is the presence of two lateral swivel latches in addition to the center key
lock. The key lock is typical of commercial sets, but not of military
The tourniquet is marked 'Gemrig' as are all the other instruments.
See an 1866
Gemrig catalog with
diagrams of instruments.
between this set and a later Gemrig set.