American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


 Home page  |   Feedback & Contact Dr. Echols  |  SEARCH this site   |  Article Indexes   |   Medical Faculty & Authors

 Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers   |   1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays

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


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, and various TV programs, Antiques & Collecting publications

H. Hernstein, U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. Tooth Key

Civil War Dental Extraction Key with extra tooth hooks

A set of tooth keys, one of which is marked 'H. Hernstein' and also is marked for the 'U.S.A. Hosp. Dept.'  The set is right and left, but the smaller of the two keys is not marked for Hernstein or the Hosp. Dept. and the handles are different sizes as are the tenon and mortis for the handles. The multi-colored wood handle is the larger and is correct for the Hernstein marked key in this case.  The smaller with right angle bends in the shank of the key, is more typical of the type of ebony handle we see in Hernstein sets during the Civil War, but as said above, it is not marked for the Hospital Department or Hernstein. 

The leather roll-up case is correct for dental instruments with the large heavy retention leather loops.  It is marked for 'Hernstein' and the address is for 393 Broadway, which is the Civil War address for H. Hernstein.

The c. 1860 tooth key with unusual round bolster is marked 'Hernstein', a New York maker.  This dental antique has a checked wood handle.  Signed American tooth keys are scarce.  See Edmonson, p. 220.

Hermann Hernstein surgical instruments  (major supplier of instruments to the U.S.A. Hosp. Dept.)

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 (pre-War)


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

Hermann Hernstein & Son & Co. 1865: 2 Liberty and 393 Broadway  (Post War)

Above reference: Edmonson


Since the mechanical tips of both keys are essentially the same, I would assume they are both from Hernstein, but different vintages by only a few years.



Hernstein: Maker of Surgical Instruments / 393 Broadway, New York




A similar leather case with instruments from Snowden & Brother (Civil War period)


A set of dental extraction instruments from the Tiemann Catalog, c. 1886, however, note the lower right tooth key is very similar to one of the tooth keys in this group, with the removable fulcrum.


Two sides of the same handle, showing different wood colors.  The lighter color is from the marked key in this collection.

There are six different semi-circular jaws for the keys.  All pieces are unplated steel, color variations due to lighting issues


 Left: unmarked      Center: marked "USA Hosp. Dept"       Right: marked "Hernstein"

The mortis holes are not the same size


Right-angle of the shanks is different (curved vs angular).  Both ends are essentially the same except the upper and larger body has a slightly larger tenon and mortise.

SS White is the Original American Dental Manufacturer and Innovator of Dental Products

The name SS White is synonymous with dentistry in the United States. The glorious history of SS White Burs began in 1844 when Samuel Stockton White opened up his business in Philadelphia, PA.

To aid in distribution of products and stimulate communication with dentist customers, retail stores were opened: New York (1846), Boston (1850), Brooklyn (1852), and Chicago (1858). Finding this method inadequate to keep up with demand, the firm then established a system of selling to dealers who could reach dentists at considerable distances and provide them with services they needed.


Although unmarked, the smaller key in this collection has been compared to another key exactly like it, which is marked for the Hosp. Dept. and Hernstein. 

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



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

Medical Faculty and Authors:


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

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Please request permission before commercial use or publication of any content or photos on this site and credit any use with:  "American Civil War Surgical Antiques"   All content and all original photography on this Web Site is copyrighted 1995 - 2015 and may not be used on any other web site or in commercial print without the expressed e-mail permission from Dr. Arbittier:  Contact   All rights reserved. 


Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.


Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.


 Arbittier Museum of Medical History Tour:   1 | 2 | 3


Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016