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Surgical Set

Surgical Set

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Description (Brief)
This surgical manufactured by the George Tiemann Co set was commissioned by the United States Army for use during the American Civil War. The red and gold oval label is marked G. TIEMANN & CO./MANUFACTURERS/OF/SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS/63 CHATHAM ST. N.Y.<\i> A green paper label on the exterior right side reads No. 51/Field Case/CA<\i>
The case is made of rosewood with brass trim, and has two sliding brass closures. The interior is lined with purple velvet material. It has four molded sections including two trays which lift out of the case for the 44 instruments.
The case contains the typical assortment of surgical instruments, mainly knives and bone forceps for the amputation of limbs, fingers and toes. The instruments includes; four large amputation knives, seven smaller knives and a hook, a trocar and cannula, a trephine and handle a tourniquet, artery forceps and two retractors. The try at the top contains two saws, bone forceps, tweezers, a chisel and a bullet forceps. The long graduated curved instruments in the bottom tray are urethral sounds for the detection of bladder and kidney stones.
Interestingly the case also contains eleven rare admittance cards from the Medical College of Ohio. They are made out to John B. Cline of Bentonville, Indiana for the years 1850-1851 and 1852-1853. At this time medical school was only a two year program. Student’s wishing to become doctors would purchase admittance cards directly from each member of the faculty. Also included in the case is a hand written letter dated February 26th 1853 to J. B. Cline from L. M. Lawson, dean of the Medical School informing him of the successful completion of his medical studies. Medical courses at the time included; lectures on chemistry and pharmacy, Obstetrics, and the Diseases of Women and Children. The Medical College of Ohio was established about 1819, and eventually is absorbed by the University of Cincinnati in 1896.
According to the donor the set came into the possession of his father Dr. George Osler of Cincinnati, Ohio about 1946 when he bought up the practice of a Dr. Perrin<\.>
Glover Perrin (1823-1890) was an Ohio physician who joined the U.S. Army at an early date, was stationed at Fort Leavenworth after the Civil War, and eventually rose to the rank of Assistant Surgeon General. He probably acquired this surgical set in 1861, shortly after the start of the Civil War. Dr. and Mrs. John E. Osler, who donated the set to the Smithsonian, acquired it along with other Perrin relics in Cincinnati, in the 1940s. A red and gold oval label reads “G. TIEMANN & CO. / MANUFACTURERS/OF/SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS / 63 CHATHAM ST. N.Y.” A green paper reads “No. 51 / Field Case /CA.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
surgical set
Other Terms
Case; Surgical Set
date made
about 1861
George Tiemann and Company
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
wood, rosewood (overall material)
textile, velvet (overall material)
metal, brass (overall material)
paper (overall material)
purple (overall color)
red (overall color)
gold (overall color)
average spatial: 9.5 cm x 43 cm x 18 cm; 3 3/4 in x 16 15/16 in x 7 1/16 in
overall: 4 in x 16 7/8 in x 7 1/8 in; 10.16 cm x 42.8625 cm x 18.0975 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
George and Leora Osler
Civil War
Surgical instruments
Civil War
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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