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LewisSullivan
02-14-2007, 03:49 PM
Hello,
Well this is my first post. I am new to the whole Medical aspect of the civil war, not living history though. I guess I decided that if I didn't want to be a real doctor I would reenact one. Anyways to the question. I have found this item on 'ebay'. Yes I know.. ebay is evil. Could you fellos take a look at it and tell me if it fits. From the research I have done it seems to and at $58. I couldn't turn it down. I know the lining is incorrect but a quick fix at wal-mart should do the trick yes? Let me know..

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=006&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=160082725254&rd=1&rd=1

- Lewis

NoahBriggs
02-14-2007, 05:13 PM
Yeah, I have seen this already. Ask the seller for his documentation.

TimKindred
02-14-2007, 06:26 PM
Comrades,

Yeah, it's too good to be true. There is also a couple of fellows selling "fantasy" medical stuff on ebay. many fellows, actually. One guy is taking post-CW instruments, and adding wooden handles to them and reselling them for reenactors. They have a light-colored handle. Basically, he's gluing a piece of wood onto each side, then sanding it down and giving it a clear coat. CW period handles were nearly always one-pieve, with the instrument set into the handle.

Also, you'll see all sorts of crappola labeled as "CW Medical". Your best bet is to get ahold of the three-volume, soft-cover encyclopedia of CW Medocal Equipment by Dr. Gordon Dammaan. It's a great starting resource as to what types of stuff was actually available, and how it was used. Full of photographs of the actual items.

Here is a set on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/3-CIVIL-WAR-MEDICAL-INSTRUMENTS-BOOKS-10-OFF-NEW_W0QQitemZ160072473403QQihZ006QQcategoryZ378QQr dZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem


Regardless, don't be afraid to come on here and list the item you are looking at, or have a question about. Folks here are more than happy to help out.

Respects,

LewisSullivan
02-14-2007, 06:54 PM
Oh, I know the kit is a reporduction.. I am saying does it 'look' authentic to use in reenactments. If not is there anything that can be done to fix it or did I just throw away $58?

- Lewis

NoahBriggs
02-14-2007, 07:06 PM
Looks like he was trying to simulate or reproduce this:

http://www.warplay.com/wpe33.jpg (Thanks, verg.)

Either way, the burden of proof is on him to defend the legitimacy of his item. It may be a good quality item well put-together, but that does not automatically mean it's "accurate."

Alex Peck's website has a section which has collecting alerts. I don't think it's been updated in a while, but there is a lot of useful stuff onsite there anyway.

http://www.antiquescientifica.com/alerts.htm

this will save you from getting a "combination amputation knife/saw" which I saw waved around at one event. The owner actually justified his position with the trademark farb motto: if they'd 'a had it, they'd a used it.

Oh, the horror stories. We could tell. But I digress.

Your best bet is research, research, research. Dammam's book is a light beer version of the Teimann catalogue. Tiemann's is available on eBay on CD-ROM and book. Usually sold through "Steinmed".

NoahBriggs
02-14-2007, 07:07 PM
One guy is taking post-CW instruments, and adding wooden handles to them and reselling them for reenactors. They have a light-colored handle. Basically, he's gluing a piece of wood onto each side, then sanding it down and giving it a clear coat. CW period handles were nearly always one-pieve, with the instrument set into the handle.

Who, so we know to avoid him?

cwmed
02-14-2007, 10:38 PM
Dear Gents,

I would not use Damans books as Bibles he has some things wrong and miss-labled you should refer to Lords or anouther more reliable sorce.

Thanks,

Luke Castleberry

hanktrent
02-14-2007, 10:39 PM
There's no standard, of course, for what's "good enough." However, one can discuss differences between reproductions and originals, what attributes were typical of the period, whether something is an exact duplicate of a particular original or was made generically in the style of the period, how far out of the norm is it, etc.

Let us all open Damman Vol. 1 and turn to page 63. We will now sing... :)

I mean, check out the "hospital drug chest" at the top of the page. Very similar to the eBay offering on the surface. Got the same five large jars with flat pasteboard(?) tops in back, lots of small jars in front, except there's no bandage compartment like the eBay auction.

The original in Dammann's is "73 cm x 36 cm x 48 cm," which translates to about 28" x 14" x 19". No dimensions are given in the auction, but from the photos the repro looks much smaller. If those are 3"-4" bandages, it might be 12-18" wide. Since he may have been reproducing a smaller original case, that's not really an issue, but it does show a dramatic difference in scale.

Without knowing whether he's reproducing a specific original, we have to talk about what was typical.

Here are some things to note. If anyone has seen other cases that contradict these observations, or show that something I've claimed was unusual was in fact typical, please correct me!

The Dammann's case is mahogany veneer, and typically, period boxes/cases/trunks/containers made of cheap wood were covered with something--veneer, leather, paint. In the auction, it's hard to tell on the case in the foreground, but the case in the rear clearly is showing its dovetails.

The mindset of the period would be not to show off the dovetails with a stain. You'd usually either cover the case, or if made of finer wood that you wanted to finish with the grain showing, join the corner in such a way that the dovetails wouldn't show. And, to top it off, the large square dovetails are typical of post-war joinery, while mid 19th century dovetails typically had uneven spacing, with wide "tails" and narrow wedges.

It looks like it has snap-down footlocker-style latches on the front. Not something I've seen typical of 19th century medical cases. Most had an inset lock that extended from the edge of the lid into the edge of the front and latched with a key, or some similar arrangement such as an exterior hasp for a padlock on a cruder box. In a world full of servants, theft was always an issue, and typical period cabinetry was awash in locks. The inset hinges though are nice and very typical.

Having a list of ingredients pasted on the lid shows up on some period cases. The typeface and layout don't really have a "wow, that looks period" look to them, though. The medicines are pretty typical for a basic selection from the period, though "pills" occurs way more than "tablets" in period inventories.

Can't see the bottles or labels really well, but from the photos I don't see anything terribly wrong, if those are cork (or ground glass) and paper/pasteboard stoppers.

In short, if this got knocked around a bit and had some age to it, would it pass for an original? Not in my opinion. Would it cause the average medical reenactor to run away screaming "farb"? Not in my opinion. Is it the bargain of the century? Well, I'd say it would cost about that in materials to make it yourself. A reenactor who really wanted to have a spot-on typical-for-the-period reproduction might make a few different choices and/or wish for things that were way more expensive, like veneer.

Some superficial defarbing might help it a lot, too, unless the maker has specific documentation for things like the footlocker latches, an original-finish stained case with dovetails showing (if they do), and so forth.

I noticed he's in North Carolina and the enlargement of the label shows it's supposed to be a case made by a company in North Carolina. Be interesting to know if it's based on an original in a local museum? If so, and the original has the above features I commented on, everything I said just became moot. :)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

TimKindred
02-14-2007, 11:48 PM
Dear Gents,

I would not use Damans books as Bibles he has some things wrong and miss-labled you should refer to Lords or anouther more reliable sorce.

Thanks,

Luke Castleberry

Comrade,

Actually, Lord's is about as accurate as the EOG series. Despite his remarkable collection, many of Mr. Lord's "items" have been shown to be post-war, or seriously lacking in documentation.

Now, it is true that Dr. Dammaan has some errors as well, but he talks about many of those in the later editions, and I find that, as a general guide for someone starting to look into the subject, it has a useful place and is a good investment.

Respects,

LewisSullivan
02-15-2007, 03:50 PM
Thanks for posting the 'flaws'. I am actually quite handy when it comes to making/changing things and its a big help to know that it 'could' be fixed. I requested the information to come along with it.. we will see how 'generous' he is with that request. I have two more items I would very much apprciate a 'verdict' on. Thanks for the help thus far guys!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=019&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBI%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290080852939&rd=1&rd=1

and

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=012&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBI%3AIT&viewitem=&item=220081965433&rd=1&rd=1


- Lewis

"Doc" Nelson
02-15-2007, 06:00 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=019&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBI%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290080852939&rd=1&rd=1
This kit is very similar to Ed Archer's (http://civilwarmedbooks.com/Surgeons%20Pocket%20Kit.idc) pocket kit. I'm not too terribly sure of the quality though. One of the other medical impressionists on this forum may add to it a little better than myself. I personally, have an Ed Archer pocket kit. The same as in the photos on the link I posted here.




http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=012&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBI%3AIT&viewitem=&item=220081965433&rd=1&rd=1

- Lewis

This guy seems to put a lot of "stuff", that he claims is original, on ebay. I made the mistake by buying a small roll up kit from him about a year and a half ago. Well, there was nothing in the kit original, nor accurate for the impression. A lot of the instruments were only about 20 years old. And, the case it came with had a snap closure. My suggestion is, no. But, that's just it, my suggestion. That's a decision that you'd have to make on your own. I saved up to buy one of Ed's kits. It took me awhile, but it's worth every moment and penny of it.

Good luck.

Marc
02-15-2007, 06:37 PM
Agree...I have one of the Pocket Kits also and it was well worth the money.

I stopped even looking on E-Bay years ago as prices got too high and questionable items.

NoahBriggs
02-15-2007, 08:09 PM
Don't hit eBay unless you really know what you are doing. Be patient, padawan. Save your money for something you know is accurate.

LewisSullivan
02-15-2007, 10:10 PM
*Smirk* So what you are saying is E-bay is a definite no then? I mean that's what some of you are saying. I really trust your opinions so I will stay clear of the items for now. Thanks for the tips on where to get the better stuff Doc.

- Lewis

Marc
02-16-2007, 08:21 AM
*Smirk* So what you are saying is E-bay is a definite no then? I mean that's what some of you are saying. I really trust your opinions so I will stay clear of the items for now. Thanks for the tips on where to get the better stuff Doc.

- Lewis

As Noah stated unless you really know your items as authentic etc..e-bay is not the place. This would be for any item or antique. I have most of the references listed and a few more and I am far from an expert on what is correct for the mid 19th century and what is not as to medical items.

NoahBriggs
02-16-2007, 09:15 AM
But you are doing the right thing and running it past others first, which is a good thing.

Mojo1842
02-18-2007, 06:36 PM
*Smirk* So what you are saying is E-bay is a definite no then? I mean that's what some of you are saying. I really trust your opinions so I will stay clear of the items for now. Thanks for the tips on where to get the better stuff Doc.

- Lewis
By no means is it ALWAYS a no-go (I managed to find an older repro of the model '61 field case {Kidney Case} and a copy of the 1842 edition of Paris' Pharmacologia on there), but as Noah said, it's good to run it by someone who may know more about what you're looking at.

hanktrent
02-19-2007, 10:46 AM
By no means is it ALWAYS a no-go (I managed to find an older repro of the model '61 field case {Kidney Case} and a copy of the 1842 edition of Paris' Pharmacologia on there), but as Noah said, it's good to run it by someone who may know more about what you're looking at.

And I think it's also good to figure out what exactly one wants to purchase, which leads to the greater question of one's goals. How accurate does it need to be? If accuracy is the primary goal, is it worth putting original antiques at risk? Medical instruments are one area where using/displaying originals at reenactments is tempting, because they don't tend to deteriorate with age like textiles, there aren't always good reproductions available for some of the obscure items, and the reproductions can cost nearly as much as originals without the corresponding investment value.

But the risk of breakage, loss and theft can be high, depending on the situation, so reproductions or later substitutes like common 20th century items (maybe with some defarbing), are the ideal solution. But with some exceptions, the accuracy level will be lower, and therefore it requires a judgment call when buying.

If you're looking for original items, then there are a fair amount on eBay and not too hard to pick out if you know what you're looking for. If you're looking for modern reproductions, there are those as well, with a very broad quality range, and they almost take more judgment than finding the originals, because you need to decide how good is close enough. Or if you're looking for more common antiques to substitute as originals, like using 20th century bottles or ink erasers, it requires the ability to find items that resemble originals closely enough, but not so close that they're accidentally or fraudulently sold as such with the corresponding prices.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net