'P & K' artificial left arm, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1920-1925
Named after the initials of the inventors, Alexander Pringle, an engineer, and his partner T Kirk, the P&K arm was first produced in 1920 to help provide good quality limbs for the numerous amputees from the First World War. Kirk, investigating prostheses in 1918, found that prosthetic arms were heavy and difficult to use. By investigating the anatomy of the arm and working with Pringle, Kirk invented a five-fingered hand made from springs and operated by a long lever. This particular model was made for an above-the-elbow amputee. The printed “Limb Condemned” label was written at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, England. The limb (one of two) was beyond repair and the owner was issued with a new prosthesis. Opened in 1915, Queen Mary’s was the main limb-fitting centre during and after the First World War, dealing with just over half of the 41,000 British servicemen who lost a limb.
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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 arm