MEDICAL ANTIQUES ARCHIVES

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An exceedingly scarce model 1832 United States Army Medical Staff sword marked within a banner: N.P. Ames / Cutler Springfield [Massachusetts]. Mid-way on one side of the blade is the etched bust profile of a bearded man who is labeled in script: Esculapius. This refers to the Greek god of medicine and healing. Other etchings on the blade include a wreath surrounding the letters U.S., an eagle, floral sprays, crossed swords, a panoply, and a standing figure of Liberty. The fancy brass hilt retains 95% of its original gilt. The leather scabbard is in magnificent condition. It has a long brass throat with frog and a very long (12 inches) brass drag. Both are elaborately hand-engraved with floral designs and retain 95%+ of the original gilt. Peterson describes the sword as exceptionally rare. It is estimated that only a few such swords were ever made during the period of 1832 to 1840 when this was the regulation sword for the Medical Staff. See Peterson, pp. 138-139, number 123. Also, see Hamilton, p. 44. This very sword is featured in John Thillmann's book on United States staff officer's swords, 1832-1860. 

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A scarce and superb Model 1840 Medical Staff sword by N. P. Ames. Old English silver M.S. letters are applied to the shield of the hilt. One side of the blade is etched with a caduceus and the legend: U.S. Medical Staff. The other side displays an eagle and panoply. The blade is further steel point engraved at the ricasso: N.P. Ames / Cutler / Springfield. The throat of the scabbard is engraved: N.P. AMES / Cutler / Cabotville / MASS. As Nathan Peabody Ames died in 1847, and the company subsequently changed its name, this sword was made between c. 1840-1847. The sword is very well-made, and the casting, chasing, and etching are of a higher standard than the Civil War period Ames Model 1840 production (which was still considered a superior sword at the time). Some 99% of the original gilt finish is present, and the blade retains its original bright polish.

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A very rare Model 1860 Staff and Field Officer's sword by Ames with caduceus etched on the blade.  For a discussion of this variant Civil War sword and the Medical Staff, see Harold L. Peterson, The American Sword 1775-1945, p. 141-142, fig. 125, and the following photograph in this catalogue.

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A CDV of Reed Brockway Bontecou, M.D., Brigade Surgeon U.S. Volunteers, on the porch of his residence at Harewood Hospital.   Dr. Bontecou (1824-1907) was one of the foremost surgeons of the Civil War and surgeon-in-charge of U.S. Army Harewood Hospital, Washington, D.C.  He is remembered, in particular, for his U.S. Army medical and surgical photographs, which are largely reproduced in the Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion.  These are the earliest photographs to systematically document orthopedic surgery.   Note that Surgeon Bontecou is wearing what one would take to be a Model 1860 Staff and Field Officer's sword, not the expected Model 1840 Medical Staff sword, though it may actually be a Medical Staff sword variant.  See Peterson, p. 141-142, fig. 125, for a discussion of this peculiar medical sword, and the immediate previous catalogue entry.

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A regulation Model 1840 Medical Staff sword by Horstmann, Philadelphia.  The frosty blade is etched:  United States Medical Staff.  Silver old English M.S. letters are applied to the langet.  The brass scabbard is engraved at the throat: Surgeon / O.E. Brewster / 40th / Mass.  Dr. Oliver E. Brewster graduated from the Berkshire Medical College, Pittsfield, in 1839.  He served in the 40th from September 1862 to October 1863.  This is classic example of a Civil War surgeon's sword.

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Samuel Preston Moore, A Manual of Military Surgery Prepared for the Use of the Confederate States Army.   Richmond: Ayres & Wade, 1863. The only edition.  Original stiff paper binding.  With 40 plates and 174 figures, this was the first of only two illustrated military surgical manuals to have been compiled and printed in the Confederacy.  During the Civil War, Dr. Moore was the surgeon general of the Confederate States Army Medical Department.  The front flyleaf is inscribed A.G. Jones / B[ough]t at / Dr. Waddells / Sale / 1875 M[edical] C[ollege of ] V[irginia].  

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A c. 1860 antique obstetrical fetal destruction blunt hook marked:  MAW & SON.  The ebony handle detaches for ease of carrying.  Maw, a well-known London firm, went by the name Maw & Son for only the years 1860 through 1870.

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A very high quality c. 1840 antique bloodletting silver etui with four tortoise shell covered lancets.  These instruments are known as a thumb lancets due the manner in which they were held and pushed into a blood vessel.

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A c. 1880 Cammann binaural stethoscope with tension spring a screw adjustment. The bridge is twice marked: WOCHER & SON. Wocher is a well-known Cincinnati firm.

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A c. 1890 antique circumcision knife with a mother-or-pearl handle and its original fitted-case.  The knife is marked H. PAPE / NACHF[o]L[ger].  Pape is thought to have been in business in Memel, East Prussia (Klaipeda, Lithuania).

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A c. 1860 Australian cased syringe with original instructions titled: Vein-Injecting Apparatus, for INJECTING DILUTED LIQUID AMMONIA, IN CASES OF SNAKE POISONING. Besides the detailed instructions, the set includes a superb syringe and an ebony-handled scalpel. A small bottle and a pair of tweezers are missing. The syringe tube is clear glass, while the fittings, including the piston rod, are solid silver. The needle is gold and the plunger knob is turned-ivory. The directions say to use the scalpel to cut to a vein of the forearm or leg and to use the syringe to inject directly into the vein which …will be seen to be lying full of dark blood…. The syringe was …Approved of BY PROFESSOR HALFORD…, and the wholesale agents were Felton, Grimwade & Co., Melbourne. This is a wonderful, intriguing, and very early syringe.

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A c. 1800 antique vaginal douche finely turned from bone.  There are five holes at the nozzle.

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A c. 1870s capital amputation set by Ford and Caswell Hazard, New York. The cased set is complete with all of its original sixteen surgical instruments. The brass-fitted mahogany case and red velvet lining are in superb condition. The two New York companies merged in 1874, and the set dates to the time of the merger as most instruments have only the Ford mark.. See Edmonson, pp. 84 and 218.

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On the left is an elegant c. 1820 toothkey with a bow-style horn handle. The steel shaft and claw are in bright condition.  To the right is a c. 1800 ivory-handled key that has two claws and a clip release that holds the shaft in place. 

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A c. 1860 antique chain saw for bone resection.  The ebony handles can be removed from the chain so that the chain may be fed around bone before cutting.  See Weiss 1863, pl. III, fig. 7.

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An Italian early nineteenth century tourniquet with brass key-wound and iron cogged-wheel tightening mechanism. The brass frame is stamped: GIANNATTASI (?) IN NAPOLI. This superb instrument has many brass and iron decorative flourishes; of note, in particular, are the fluting to the screw heads and the iron loop of the catch.

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