The Evolution of Prosthetics

By: Zachary Donegan

Summary of Prosthetics History

"The Cairo Toe" - 950 BC

The First Recorded Prosthetic

Found in Cairo this is one of the earliest records of a prosthetic being made/used. The toe was used to complete a woman's toe so that she could wear a traditional sandal in the Egyptian tradition completing what had been lost (the sandal could not be worn, it was the big toe which was missing).
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"The Capua Leg" - 300 BC

The Oldest Prosthetic Leg

Found in Italy this was believed to be a prosthetic which held a shield for a general during the Punic Wars. The original being destroyed during World War 2 still shows that there were many advancements in prosthesis.

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An Arm of Steel - 200/218 BC

The Oldest Prosthetic Arm

This is believed to be one of the first prosthetic arms to be built. It served as a "shield holster" for a general during the Punic Wars. It is also believed to be one of the first prosthesis used for military purposes.

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The Artificial Arm - 1504

The Life Like Arm

During the time Gotz von Berlich was a knight which lost his arm by cannonball. The surgeon Ambroise Pare designed a more life like and detailed arm for the knight which shows that many prosthesis were focused on by aesthetic traits.
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Advanced Knee Mechanisms - 1696

Making Much Needed Improvements

During this time Pieter Verduyn made created a non-locking prosthetic knee which allowed a more realistic functioning prosthetic leg to become a possibility.
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The Functioning Hand - 1840's

The Prosthetic Hand with Improvements

During the early 1840's William Selpho designed a prosthetic hand which was more useful than others due to the fact that he made the fingers able to articulate by using tendons.
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The Sound Leg - Late 1800's

Artificial Sound Reduced Leg

During the Civil War James Edward Hanger lost his leg to a cannon and was presented with an artificial leg made by J.E Hanger and Company. This leg was made to have reduced noise to make it more "normal" or not as inefficient.
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Prosthetic Being Put to Work - Early 1900's

The Pianist Prosthetic

During the time it is recorded that more prosthetic were being designed to help aid work yet one example would be that a prosthetic hand was built for a pianist to be able to play an octave piano in a show at Royal Albert's Hall.
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Advanced Joints - 1972

Improved Limbs/Joints/Etc

The new prosthesis being made allowed for more editions to be made which added functionality and efficiency. There are multiple accounts of hip, knee, arm, and leg prosthesis at the time. Yet these were designed to be even more useful by allowing many to get back into the workforce.
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Sensors and Prosthesis - Present Day

Advanced Prosthseis

Currently much research and funding is being put into prosthetic research and creating new versions of limbs. One example is that sensors are being implemented to allow activities which require more precision to allow success in many situations.
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Summary of the History of Prosthesis

Throughout time many have been limited to things in life after losing a limb. Yet the advancement of prosthesis allow many to live normal lives. Not only have we come a long way to make realistic prosthesis many believe that prosthesis will become more advanced than human limbs in the near future.


"The Evolution of Prosthetic Devices: A Patent History - | Patents & Patent Law." IPWatchdogcom Patents Patent Law The Evolution of Prosthetic Devices A Patent History Comments. 2014. Web. 22 Mar. 2016."