Artificial 'Bird Cage' right leg, Europe, 1913-1923

1913-1923 in Europe
Ministry of Pensions light-weight "Bird Cage" prosthesis for

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Ministry of Pensions light-weight "Bird Cage" prosthesis for
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ministry of Pensions light-weight "Bird Cage" prosthesis for right above knee amputee. Certalmid socket mounted on a metal skeleton-like structure. The shin is of similar construction with a central supporting rod from end of socket to ankle and jointed at knee level. Wooden foot with metal dorsal surface. Made c.1918.

Made for someone who had their leg amputated above the knee, this unusual metal skeleton-like structure is known as a ‘Bird Cage’ design. This design was intended to be both strong and lightweight. The socket of the leg is made from certalmid, a material designed for prosthetic limbs during the First World War and used for many years afterwards.

The leg was issued by the Ministry of Pensions, a British government department made responsible for compensating the huge numbers of British servicemen left physically disabled by the war. It is shown here with another lightweight example (1999-473).


Object Number:
certalmid and metial
overall (straight): 180 mm x 830 mm x 310 mm,
artificial leg
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust