Device to apply plaster casts, England, 1910-1925

1910-1925 in England
Large wooden frame structure with revolving metal platform

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Large wooden frame structure with revolving metal platform
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Large wooden frame structure with revolving metal platform within, for applying extensive plaster castes, known as "the gallows", from the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital, Alton, Hampshire, England, 1910-1925

Measuring just under three metres tall, this imposing structure was used to apply extensive plaster casts to the body. It was referred to as ‘the gallows’. A child would be suspended from the upper part, their feet just touching the metal plate in the centre, and would be slowly rotated while bandages soaked in wet plaster of Paris were applied. The treatment was often used in an attempt to straighten out spines curved by the effects of tuberculosis, polio or scoliosis and, once hard, the casts could be left on for many days.

The device was used at the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital in Alton, Hampshire, England. Set up in 1908, the hospital combined treatment of the physically disabled with education and schooling for long term patients. The hospital specialised in treating orthopaedic conditions that affect the joints, such as polio and a form of tuberculosis.


Object Number:
wood, metal, cord and rubber
overall: 2870 mm x 1285 mm x 750 mm,
plaster cast device
North Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust