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

c. 1860 Snowden U.S. Army Medical Dept. Post-Mortem Set

 

Tags: USA Medical Department, Snowden, post-mortem , surgical set, Civil War Medicine

This small post-mortem set by Henry C. Snowden, is marked on the brass plaque for the U. S. Army Medical Department and dates to immediately before the Civil War.   Snowden was located at 15 N. 5th from 1858 to 1864.   Henry Snowden was later joined by his various relatives to form Snowden & Brother.  Both houses apparently produced medical instruments during the Civil War.  (American Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated History, by Edmonson):

Snowden & Bro. (George P. [1832-?] and Henry C. [1838-?] Snowden become partners I July 1858; William Snowden [1840?] becomes partner I January 1866; Henry C. retires in May,

1872 and sells interest to George) surgical instrument makers

1858-64: 15 N. 5th

1864-72: 23 S. 8th

This set is of limited scope, but the presence of the bone chisel would be indicative of more invasive dissection.  I have no idea why there is a bone chisel in the set as I have never seen this before.   One would expect there to be a blunt hammer associated with the presence of a bone chisel, unless this set was part of a larger set.

The mahogany case ( 9 x3 x 2 in. ) has a typical military latch.  Several of the instruments have the Snowden stamp, but nothing to indicate 'Snowden & Bros.' as would be expected on a later set.

Initial research shows that the USA Hospital Department purchased 303 post-mortem cases/sets during the civil war (page 966 of Vol 6 of the reprint of the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion).  Also, on page 246 (vol 3) is an example of a pre-printed form which was filled out for a post-mortem examination for soldiers.   I am certain that many if not all Brigade Surgeons and directors of receiving hospitals all preformed autopsies.  Specifically, when the USA Hosp. Dept medical museum was created, again autopsies and great illustrative specimens were requested/required. 

 

 

   


Warning: The actual instruments sold by Tiemann during the Civil War were similar to those on these pages, but may not be exactly the same.  Many are exactly the same, but you have to make allowances for sterilization considerations after 1870.

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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques