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

2011 - "The sesqui-centennial of the Civil War" -  2015

The 150th Year Celebration

 

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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. 

 

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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    INDEX

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Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865

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93 Navy Surgeon Exams:

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Surgeon CDVs, Images:

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Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Friday, July 11, 2014