Amputation Saw and Other Instruments

Creator: Kern Company, Philadelphia

Context: Medical kits such as this one were used by both military and civilian surgeons during the Civil War era.

Audience: Surgeons and other medical professionals.

Purpose: To assist surgeons in performing medical procedures. Saws such as this one were used to amputate body parts at battlefield hospitals.

Historical Significance: These instruments illustrate the limitations of the equipment available to help doctors who worked on Civil War battlefields. The devastating effect of new military weapons (particularly the new Minie bullets, which caused terrible damage to limbs), plus the lack of sanitary facilities on or near the battlefields, forced many amputations and caused many soldiers to die of disease.