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.
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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.
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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016