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Artificial right leg, Roehampton, England, 1934

The artificial leg was made for someone who had their knee amputated above the knee. The original owner has made extensive home repairs. Artificial limbs are very personal items and the repairs show the lengths some people will go to keep a limb they feel comfortable with. String, nails, wires and gaffer tape have all been used. The flesh coloured leg was made by Hanger, an American prostheses company established in 1861. They were one of a number of American companies who during the First World War set up workshops at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton, the main centre for limb-fitting in Britain; the existing British limb-making industry was unable to cater for the large number of soldier amputees.

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial leg

A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.