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

1850's Surgical Set by James Martin

James Martin was a minor maker of surgical instruments from 1843 until 1876 in Albany, New York.  Martin used instruments from Edward Owens who was also a maker of surgical  instruments in Albany from 1833 to 1851.  See a smaller set by this maker on page 291, fig. 247-248, of Edmonson's book.

James Martin cutler

1843-44: 42 South Lansing

1845-48: 38 South Lansing

1849: 173 Hudson

1850-51: 137 High surgical instrument maker

1852-69: 20 Beaver surgical instrument maker & cutler

1870: 20  Beaver surgical instrument maker and cutlery and hardware

Edward Owens surgical and dental instrument maker

1833-37: 26 Beaver

1838-45: 28 Beaver

1846-48: 5 Green

1849-51: 28 Beaver cutler and surgical instrument maker

Maker References: Edmonson

What makes this set unique is the1850's vintage, the varied contents, the fact that Martin was an isolated maker, and not one of the major makers like Tiemann or Gemrig in New York or Philadelphia.

This three layer set is unique in a number of ways.  Most of the instruments are marked Martin, but the scissors and one forceps (which obviously fit perfectly) is marked Owens.  Apparently Owens supplied instruments to Martin.  Since Owens was in business until 1851, that information is interesting because it helps date this particular set.  

If Owens was not in business after 1851, then it is likely this set is from the late 1840's or early 1850's.  The style of the very small amputation saw is typical of the 1850's.  The blade style of the amputation blades is like those from the 1850's.  The handles of the amputation knives are 'beefy' and much heavier than those of later knives which also points to the early 1850's.

The absence of a tourniquet is unusual for a major surgical set; this set has no place for any type of tourniquet.  It has a combination of amputation, neurological, eye surgery, and general surgical instruments.

The ivory eye surgery instruments are located in the removable tray and fit into shallow slots for each instrument.  There is a small compartment under the capital saw for needles and suture material.

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

American Surgical Sets:

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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques