Bly's Artificial Leg

Bly's Artificial Leg

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Description (Brief)
Today most people associate the need for an artificial limb with the consequences of war. But, in nineteenth century America industrial and farm accidents were common.
Patent model # 57666 of a prosthetic leg was invented by Dr. Douglas Bly. This particular patent for the improvement in artificial legs was granted 4 September 1866. Douglas Bly was born in 1824 in West Henrietta, Monroe County, New York. He attended medical school in Philadelphia graduating in 1851. Bly received thirteen patents for artificial legs and improvements to artificial legs. He eventually went into business manufacturing his artificial limbs. Bly died May 10, 1876 in Rochester, New York.
His first patent in 1857 for an artificial leg (#17888, reissue #1510 in 1863) was co-invented with R. H. Nicholas and is in the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.
Description
Douglas Bly (1824-1876) was a physician who held thirteen patents for artificial legs and improvements thereto. He eventually settled in Rochester, New York, and began manufacturing artificial limbs. He submitted this model with his application for a patent in 1866.
Ref: Douglas Bly, “Improvement in Artificial Legs,” U.S. Patent 57666 (September 4, 1866).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
leg, prosthetic
prosthesis
date made
1866
maker
Bly, Douglas
Measurements
overall: 6 1/2 in x 18 7/8 in x 10 in; 16.51 cm x 47.9425 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
1978.0273.01
accession number
1978.0273
catalog number
1978.0273.01
patent number
57,666
subject
Patent Models
Medicine
Prosthesis
Disabilities
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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