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
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
This is a very unusual and
surgical set in that it is a mixture of instruments which would be found in a
resection (exsecting) set (bone surgery), containing bone chisels and hammer,
chain saw, Hey saw, heavy bone forceps, and bone drills.
Apparently the set was
meant to supplement another set, such as a large capital surgery set. The
resection set is in almost new condition. The rectangular space at the top of the case
possibly contained splint material, but the space is not shaped for any particular instrument as is usual for
specific instruments. The odd shaped opening containing the chain
saw obviously contained other parts, but again it is unknown what was meant to
be in that irregular opening as there is no specific shaped depression to hold
any particular instrument.
The approximate date of the
set is estimated to be in the late 1860's and perhaps the early 1870's as the case
(double decorative brass wire banding) and
style of the instruments points to that time frame.
The size of the mahogany
case is: 3 x 5.5 x 16 inches and has a decorative brass inlay on the top side
and a central key lock.
Click on any
photo to enlarge