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Pair of lower limb prostheses, Roehampton, England, 1959

These were the first pair of lower limb prostheses issued to a two year-old girl. She was born with a condition called amelia. This is an absence of both lower limbs. The prostheses were made in 1959 by Hanger, a company based at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton in west London. They consist of two separate sockets linked by four leather straps. They are made of a potentially harmful resinated asbestos material called durestos. Durestos was originally developed by the aeronautical industries. Its strength and lightness made it a perfect building material. Orthopaedic manufacturers adopted the material in the 1950s and 1960s for these same reasons.

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Glossary: artificial leg

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

Glossary: prosthetics (functional aids)

No description.