MEDICAL COLLECTING ALERTS

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Maybe these pieces were found in Fredericksburg, but they are the remainder of a set of suspenders, not tourniquets. 

mis id, tq buckle.jpg (72758 bytes)
Folding tables of this sort are often offered as Civil War amputation tables.  They are, in fact, undertaker's cooling boards (tables), and they were used at a time when funerals were held at a private residence. They date from the 1880s through the1940s.  Such folding boards will sometimes have holes drilled through the top or have a caned top.  These surfaces allowed for a better flow of air cooled by a block of ice placed under the board.  Some will also have brackets that pull-out from either end and fix vertically.  The brackets were used to suspend a cover over the body and ice to contain the cooled air.  Examples without the holes may have been intended for home embalming only.  A common maker is Gleason of Brockport, New York, and one of their boards with an 1880s patent date is in the upper picture.  The brackets are not extended.  The Gleason ad shows a board with a cover held by the brackets and a second view of a collapsed board in its carrying configuration.  I once had someone tell me that he had a pre-Civil War folding amputation table and that it had a metal maker's label with the patent date of 1832.  I told him that this was unlikely, but he insisted and had the piece in his van out in the parking lot.  I went to take a look.  Sure enough, there was a maker's tag...the date was 1932!  

mortuary_Gleason_1886_table_overview.jpg (100368 bytes)

mis id, Gleason cooling board ad, reduced.jpg (58588 bytes)

A silver papboat in the style of c. 1800.  This is a reproduction sold through the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Note the MMA markings on the base.  

mis id, papboat, MMA.jpg (13288 bytes)

 

Offered as a medical clamp, this is a piece from a meat carving dinner set and was used to hold a joint of lamb.  The rather cheap bone handle is monogrammed (not shown in photo). mis id, surgical clamp.jpg (51143 bytes)
This bivalve nasal speculum must have been a real puzzler to its seller, who called it a catheter remover.  

mis id, Dr Tiemanns catheter remover.jpg (35615 bytes)

 

Offered as a Civil War steward's medical box, this is simply a post Civil War case with the interior divided into four sections.  It may have been used as a traveling document case. A typical feature of true medical cases will be evidence of spilled medications in the interior.  This case shows no signs of any spillage. mis id, union cw steward's medical box.jpg (43811 bytes)

 

mis id, union cw steward's medical box, interior.jpg (44090 bytes)

This leather box was described as a Civil War medical box.  The leather case originally held harness repair equipemnt and is of the Indian War period.  

mis id, cw medical bag.jpg (21741 bytes)

 

An early twentieth century Hey's saw described as being of the Civil War period.  Note that the instrument is all-metal, including the handle, and plated.  These together are not characteristics of surgical instruments until the 1890s. mis id, CW era Hey's saw.jpg (22458 bytes)
This mallet dates from the early twentieth century, not from the Civil War.  Note the plated metal bands.  

mis id, cw mallet, Pilling.jpg (40121 bytes)

 

Ivory pieces such as this are not medical tongue depressors.  Rather they are letter openers.  Whale bone corset stays are also seen described as tongue depressors. mis-id, ivory tongue depressor.jpg (48709 bytes)
The quality of the transfers and the color of the borders give this piece away as a reproduction.  Note that the crazing seen in the finish is not a result of age; the crazing appears during the firing.  

mis-id, repro phrenology bust.jpg (25092 bytes)

 

Antique items dealing with medicinal leeches are in great demand.  This porcelain box was described as a leech carrier due to the holes in the lid.  Lots of things have holes in their lids besides true leech carriers.  This is a toothbrush box.  Note the cradle inside the base.  mis id, leech carrier tooth brush box.jpg (8060 bytes)
A set of early 20th century fraternal order chaplain's shoulder boards which were described as a set of Civil War hospital chaplain's boards.  

mis id, CW hosp chaplian shoulder straps.jpg (25091 bytes)

 

Civil War medical saddle bags are a rather rare commodity.  However, saddle bags such as that shown here are very common.  In spite of a patent date of 1870 on the large flap, this piece was dated to the Civil War.  A clue other than the patent date is the use of nickel-plated metal.
This common glass spirit burner and top were offered as a bloodletting cup and heating lamp.  

mis id, spirit lamp bloodletting.jpg (70820 bytes)

 

 

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a.peck@mchsi.com

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