J. H. Gemrig was
a surgical instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pa. during 1840 to 1881 in various
forms (alone, with his brother, and with his son). During the Civil War,
Gemrig was a major supplier of surgical sets under contract to the Union
forces. His company was located at 48 N. 6th from 1841 to 1844, at S. 8th
in 1845, 43 S, 8th from 1846 to 1865, and 109 S. 8th from 1866 to 1880. All dates are from the
Directory of Makers and Dealers as listed by Edmonson in American Surgical
Instruments: an Illustrated History
A telling feature
of this set is the presence of two lateral sliding latches and no provision for
a key, which are indicative of a military set. Unfortunately the
brass plate is missing which would have been marked USA Medical Department, but
the presence of the bullet forceps and other surgical instruments clearly
indicate military use.
type of set was also made for the U. S. Army Medical Department after the War.
The 109 8th St. address on the maker label would be concurrent with the address
of Gemrig immediately after the Civil War.
The mahogany case measures
16 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 4 inches. Special instruments in this case are the gullet
forceps, bullet forceps, chain saw, and curved trocar.
See an 1866
Gemrig catalog with
diagrams and descriptions of instruments
Click on any photo to enlarge
109 S. 8th address was from 1866 to 1880
Note the later plain
style of unchecked handles on the hand instruments
Wanted: Military surgical kits like this
by Gemrig, Phila.