hundreds of articles on all 1800's surgical sets and instrument topics, see:
THE ARTICLE INDEX
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
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.
Collections of Dr. Michael