View Full Version : Where to Find Surgeon's Kit

11-22-2007, 02:57 PM
I am looking for a CW Surgeon's Medical bag, with his instruments. I have seen one somewhere,and I believe it was on a sutler's website. I do not want to purchase one as of yet. I need to find out what was generally found in a kit.
I know that each Dr. had his own preferance,as far as one having what another might not have use for.
I am getting ready to change my impression,so I need to start looking for the instruments of the embalmer's trade,and since some of the embalmers started out as Physicians,I am sure they just carried over some of the instruments for the process of preservation.

You don't just go to XYZ Sutler and buy a Undertaker/Embalmer's kit.

11-22-2007, 08:23 PM
I am not certain what you mean. Are you looking for where to purchase doctor's instruments and a bag in which to carry them? Or are you looking for extant examples of doctor's bags and their contents?

Vendors who sell repro instruments. Bohemian Book Brigade (Ed Archer), Milk Creek Sutlery, and Two Flags. The Gettysburg Sutler has a few instruments, mostly tin containers, stethescopes and the usual useless "Leech tin".

As for bags, it's either the nuclear wasteland of eBay for an original, or off to Dixie leatherworks for their fantasy approximations of different military surgeon's bags. It sounds like what you seek are citizens' versions, in which case it's eBay.

On eBay "TheMSmaj" and "steinmed" are reliable vendors for original instruments. I bought from Steinmed from his display in Gettysburg. He's reasonably good at identifying/dating instruments.

Bonne chance!

11-24-2007, 11:26 PM
P. L.,

You are correct in that the embalming surgeon of the CW period used instruments that would have been commonly used by the hospital surgeon. This practice continues today in modern funeral service.

Then as today, their shared instruments were a scalpel, perhaps also a bistouri, a grooved director (for opening an artery), an aneurysm needle, small dressing forceps, a needle holder, suturing needles, scissors, and dissecting forceps.

Perhaps uniquely, the embalming surgeon employed a hand pump fitted with a stopcock, tubing, and cannulas in various diameters that could be selected and fitted to the pump depending upon the size of the artery being injected. I'm not aware of a period medical application for a pump such as this.

The original pump that I've examined is brass and about the size of a pump to inflate a football. It was a custom product made with an English maker's label, and it along with three ivory cannula and a length of silk-wrapped rubber hose were fitted inside a presentation box similar to the surgeon's medical kits that Ed Archer and others use to encase their instrument sets.