American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection

 

As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs

 1861 H. Hernstein, U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. Set 

I believe this is a very early (first few months of 1861) and historically significant Civil War partial set, which was issued by the Union Army at the very beginning of the War.  It carries the marking of the U. S. Army Hospital Department markings on some of the instruments, which would eliminate it being a Medical Department issue.

H. Hernstein, of New York, was located at 393 Broadway, New York city, N.Y., during the Civil War, he produced surgical sets before, during, and after the Civil War period.   Hernstein was a contract maker for field surgery sets from the start and until the end of the War.

Hermann Hernstein surgical instruments

1843: 3 Chambers

1844: Elizabeth cor. Hester

1845-48: 7 Hague

1850: no listing

1851-52: 68 Duane

1853-54: 81 Duane

1855-57: 81 Duane and 393 Broadway

1858: 81 Duane, 131 Mercer, and 393 Broadway 1859-61: 131 Mercer and 393 Broadway

Hermann Hernstein & Son (Hermann and Albert L. Hernstein) 1862-65: 131 Mercer and 393 Broadway

Hermann Hernstein & Son & Co. 1865: 2 Liberty and 393 Broadway

Hermann Hernstein & Co. 1866-67: 2 Liberty and 393 Broadway

 

Reference: Edmonson

There are a number of reasons for my thinking this set is early 1861 and prior to the more organized issuance of standardized sets by various makers:

- The embossed eagle on the retention partition is typical of  U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. sets from Hernstein.

- The early French influenced  design of the missing saw is from the 1850's.  The handle and style of the saw  image is after those by French maker Charriere (Edmonson, page 90)

- The open loop-back, rather than circular finger hole, handle on the bullet forceps is an 1850's design.  The circular finger hole design predominates post 1861.

- The ivory handled minor surgery instruments carried into the Civil War from the 1850's.

- The lack of an engraved brass plaque / cartouche on the lid indicating U. S. Army Hospital Dept.  contract.

- The presence of the roughly struck "U.S.A. Hosp. Dept" marking on the bone forceps.  Here is an example of a later strike on the same instrument, showing a neater organized strike.  The name of H. Hernstein on the obverse side is neat and organized by contrast.

- I would assume Hernstein put this set together with existing inventory early in the War and thus it is not standardized as were later sets, which were specified by the Department of the Army surgeons.

Of particular curiosity is the raised ebony egg shaped oval inlayed in the lid, rather than the expected oval or rectangular engraved  brass cartouche / plaque.  This ebony piece is about a quarter of an inch high and fits perfectly in the plaque oval.  I suspect it was something that would be replaced on later sets by the typical engraved brass plaque.  The height of the ebony piece would prevent stacking of sets on top of one another.

The (16 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/2 in.) mahogany case is typical military issue with sliding latches and no key lock.  There are no brass screws as are seen on later military sets, but the corners pieces are there for re-enforcement as is normal for military issue. 

There are three levels of the purple velvet lined case: lid with removable partition, removable tray, and the lower section for urological related instruments.    There is a similar, but slightly later set in the color plate 7 (right) of Edmonson's book which shows the more organized changes expected for the production sets.

Any help in finding missing instruments to complete this historically important set would be appreciated and well compensated.

Click on photos to enlarge

  

   

Note the early Civil War instruments: Satterlee bone forceps and curved handled bullet forceps

  

  Display 1  |  Display 2  |  Display 3  |  Display 4  |  Display 5  |  Display 6

Hernstein & Son, N.Y., marked sets are wanted for this collection... complete or partial sets and individual instruments

  Contact   |  SEARCH THIS SITE | Sitemap for all pages

 

Home page  |  1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays  |  Article Indexes  |  Researching Civil War Surgeons

Medical Faculty & Authors  |  Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers

Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index

 

Wanted to Purchase: Items like those on this website... Contact

We are preservers, not dealers, of American Medical History

 

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

Medical Lecture Cards:

Medical Faculty and Authors:

1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

INDEX

Navy Surgeon Exams:

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

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Alphabetical index of all research and study pages:

Index Page One  |  Index Page Two  |  ARTICLES INDEXES

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques