American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Surgical Sets from 1820 to 1880 - Civilian and Military

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Swords & Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Text-books

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols

As seen in: Military Images, American's Civil War Magazine, Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, and various Antiques & Collecting publications


A Resource for: American-Maker Civil War Surgical Sets

Also... Pre & Post Civil War Surgical Sets for comparison

American Surgical Set Collection with Photos


Sources of Civil War Surgical Sets

Over '70' American-Maker Surgical Sets on Display:  1820 to 1880


Civil War Surgical Sets:


1860 to 1865

Civil War Surgical Sets Page 4

Civil War Surgical Sets Page 5

Civil War Surgical Sets Page 6

Civil War Surgical Sets Page 7

Civil War Surgical Sets Page 8


Indexed list of all Civil War surgical sets in collection



Compare Pre- and Post-War sets to Civil War sets to determine if your set really is "Civil War"


Early: Pre-1861

Pre- Civil War Surgical Sets:


Early Surgical Sets:  1800-1840

Later Surgical Sets:  1840-1860


The post-1850 sets would most likely have been available to the Confederate medical staff



Post- Civil War Surgical Sets:


Later Surgical Sets:  1866-1888






Samples of the Extensive Articles on:  Surgical  Sets, Identification, Makers, and the Military:

See photos and prices: Warman's Civil War Collectibles Book: medical antiques



For hundreds of articles on all 1800's surgical sets and instrument topics, see:


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The heyday of American-made surgical instruments was from the 1830's to the 1870's and centered in the New York and Philadelphia areas.  Prior to the 1830's and after 1900, most surgical instruments were made in England or Europe and imported to this country.   This site centers on American-made Civil War era surgical sets made during or just prior to the Civil War era.  There is information for identification of pre-1870, (pre-sterilization) American surgical sets and there is no charge for consultations, which are offered as a way to learn from antiques we do not have in this collection.

Collectors and historians will find methods for dating and identifying various instruments found in pre-1870 surgical sets.  There are articles and exhibits to show variations in style and details of surgical instruments and surgical sets in the 1800's, especially those instruments used during the Civil War.

Surgical instrument sets were relatively simple during the early part of the 1800's because the 'surgeons' procedures were basic and only involved 'heroic' attempts to save a life.  Surgery as we consider it today did not exist until the 1870's in centers of higher learning in cities like New York and Philadelphia.  Instruments were more simple and less numerous in the sets.  As we approach the Civil War era, surgical procedures become more sophisticated and the medical textbooks reflect this progress.

1870 is when sterilization began and cased sets changed drastically afterwards to allow for sterilization of the various parts of the instruments.  After 1890, the handles of the instruments were no longer made of ivory, wood, or other porous materials that could not stand up to chemical and heat treatments, thus the trend to use all metal instruments after that point in America.   

The Civil War collection and website, designed and created by Dr. Michael Echols, centers on the Civil War era prior to sterilization and is organized to help Civil War medical collectors, both new and experienced.  Advice and information is offered in a non-threatening and friendly manner in hopes of furthering the distribution of our knowledge. 

The Private Collections of Dr. Michael Echols

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: 1a | 1b 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: Wednesday, October 18, 2017