U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. Tooth Key
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
Hermann Hernstein & Son
& Co. 1865: 2 Liberty and
393 Broadway (Post War)
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
Center: marked "USA Hosp. Dept" Right:
The mortis holes are not the same size
Right-angle of the shanks is different (curved vs
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,
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