Pair of 'swivel-walkers' designed for a child born with no lower limbs, United Kingdom, 1966

Made:
1966 in Europe
maker:
Hanger Orthopaedic Group, Inc

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Pair of "swivel-walkers" designed for another child, born with complete absence of lower limbs (amelia). Designed at the Ontario Crippled Childrens Centre - Canada and modified in U.K. Made by Fletcher/Hanger 1966.

In the late 1950s and very early 1960s, the drug thalidomide was prescribed to many pregnant women to ease morning sickness. Unfortunately, the drug caused thousands of serious birth defects worldwide. Babies were born with underdeveloped or missing limbs. This pair of ‘swivel walkers’ was made for a child born without lower limbs, known medically as amelia. This pair of artificial legs has been attached to a chest piece complete with artificial arms. However, such limbs were of limited use for many people for whom they were designed.

These limbs were designed at the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre (now called the Bloorview) in Canada. They were made by American limb-making company, Hanger. Hanger was founded by James Edward Hanger, one of the first soldiers to undergo an amputation during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Hanger designed his own prosthetic limbs and founded the company that still exists today.

Details

Category:
Orthopaedics
Object Number:
1999-574
Materials:
leather, plastic and wood
type:
artificial leg
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • prosthesis
  • artificial limb
credit:
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust