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Artificial legs, Roehampton, England, 1949

Artificial limb manufacturer Hanger was founded by James Edward Hanger. He was the first amputee of the American Civil War. He constructed himself an artificial leg made of whittled barrel staves with a hinge at the knee. He was then commissioned to manufacture the "Hanger Limb” for wounded Civil War veterans. He founded the J. E. Hanger Company and patented the artificial leg. The company is now known as Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. It still manufactures artificial limbs. Hanger created this prosthesis for a two year-old born with both lower limbs missing. It was made in 1949 in two separate parts held by leather straps. These adjusted to fit around the child’s front and back as he ‘sat’ in the prosthesis. Movement was possible. However, the prosthesis was intended to get the child used to being upright.

Object number:

1999-485

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Glossary:

Glossary: orthopaedics

The branch of medicine concerned with the preservation and restoration of the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.

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.