H. Hernstein, (before
adding 'Son' or & Co.) of
New York, was located at Mercer 393 Broadway, New York city, N.Y.,
during the first year of the Civil War, Hernstein produced contract ordered surgical sets from this
address before taking in his son in 1862, and later becoming '& Co'.
The presence of the maker label is a big plus as it helps set the
manufacture date using Edmonson's statistics below.
(See page 88 of
Edmonson's book for a similar set. Hernstein was importing instruments
from French makers or at the very least copying their designs. The
shapes, fluting, checking of the saw and scalpel handles closely resemble
those seen by French maker Charriere in various text books such as Benard &
Huette, or Valpeau. This certainly does not detract from the
instruments as the French were among the best instrument makers of the
This early war type of
set has been seen before in the same configuration and with the ivory
instruments, so it is not a special order item. Curiously, it does not
have military latches, but rather a keyed lock, which may indicate it is an
earlier version. The brass plate is
engraved with a later, post-war owner's name "A. L. Turner" (who is listed in the
AMA Deceased Physicians database). The block engraving would have
been placed post-War. Most likely this set was sold after the War to
the Civilian market as surplus, the original brass plates were frequently removed, the underside
engraved, and recemented upside down. We see this issue all the time:
missing brass plates or reversed and recemented to hide the fact the set
originally was owned by the U. S. Army. An x-ray of this brass
plate did not show any military engraving on the obverse and it has not been
The presence of a pair of
bullet forceps, and U. S. A. / Hosp. Dept.
marked gullet forceps as well as a marked U.S. Army Hosp. Dept field
tourniquet would indicate military use. Otherwise it is an Army
Hospital Department specified General Operating set, size (14 x 6 x
2.5 in.) mahogany case with brass re-enforced corners, surgery set with cross-hatched ivory handles
and beautifully turned out compliment of, knives, scalpels, and bistouries.
The large gullet or
esophageal forceps are disarticulated for storage in the case and are clearly
marked: U.S.A. Hosp. Dept.
are typical of the gullet forceps seen in much larger and one year later
field sets by this maker.
1844: Elizabeth cor.
1845-48: 7 Hague
1850: no listing
1851-52: 68 Duane
1853-54: 81 Duane
1855-57: 81 Duane
and 393 Broadway
1858: 61 Duane, 131
1859-61: 131 Mercer and
Hermann Hernstein & Son
(Hermann and Albert L. Hernstein)
1862-65: 131 Mercer and 393 Broadway
& Son & Co. 1865: 2 Liberty and
& Co. 1866-67: 2 Liberty
and 393 Broadway