View Full Version : Medical Sponges and such . .

"Doc" Nelson
04-26-2007, 07:33 AM
"Sponges - a couple of cotton balls wrapped in cheesecloth. I dozen wrapped in plain newsprint, and either marked "1 Doz. Sponges USA Hosp. Dept." or your organization's cartouche.Noah (or anyone else, for that matter),
In making "sponges" with the cheesecloth . . are there any particular ways to make it? Other than wrap it and sew it up.

I'm getting things together to roll some bandages . . make packing lint . . make some sponges. And, figured I'd ask first. I've never made them and, want to "do it" right ;).


04-26-2007, 08:15 AM
I cut mine 4" x 4", place three cottonballs in the center, and park a fourth one on top of them, pyramid style. Next, I bring up the four corners and gather them together, twist to hold it proper, then grow two more arms amoeba-style from the side of my body to wrap the thread around the gathered four corners. I then tie the thread. After that, I snip off the excess cloth to just above the tie-off point, and the excess string.

If you cannot grow extra limbs, then make sure you have a list of expletives handy. NEVER DO THIS THE NIGHT BEFORE AN EVENT. The cheesecloth will act like burrs. ;)

04-26-2007, 12:54 PM

Larger squares of cheesecloth may help improve your vocabulary;-) We did this with a group of young girls, and we started with 5-6 inch squares. Since the excess was snipped off as a last step, the starting size didn't matter, but it made everything much easier to hold.

Once the cotton balls are inside and the cheesecloth is twisted, hold the end of the thread against the twist with your thumb, and then wind the thread around and around the twist. Tuck the bobbin of thread under the last time around, and pull it snugly to secure and break off the thread. Snip, and you're finished. You're right about the burrs, too. We made a couple hundred in an hour once we figured out the technique and bigger sized cheesecloth.

04-26-2007, 04:14 PM
I have also found, though not period correct in the making is to use a fly tying bobbin to wrap and tie the thread both on sponges and ammunition rounds....

"Doc" Nelson
05-09-2007, 11:26 AM
Would it matter as to how thick the cheesecloth is? I have found one that's thin and, one that's thicker.

05-09-2007, 11:50 AM
I don't know; I just picked up a packet of cheesecloth and used it.

07-13-2007, 01:14 PM
Would it matter as to how thick the cheesecloth is? I have found one that's thin and, one that's thicker.

Anyone that comes up with a caliper to measure the thickness of my cheesecloth to see if it is "farb" will need said sponge to stop the bleeding after I whack them in the head with (insert large heavy object lying nearby here).

Mr. Lenchner,
Was there supposed to be a "smiley" at the end of that statement?
- Sgt. Pepper

09-23-2008, 12:38 PM
I've been reading original invoices for Confederate Surgeons and see sponges listed by weight. in one case 1oz, and 1/2lb in another.

Also in Chisolm's 3rd edition, he mentions in the orderly's haversack 2 pieces of sponge.

Since these references are to "pieces" and "weight" rather than quantity to which the Federal medical department packaged the cotton sponges, are we to infer that the Confederate references are to natural sea sponges?