Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ask & You Shall Receive!

So further to my search (in the previous post) for information on the instructional bandage. I took a chance & asked a question on a British Medical Museum's website, not expecting any response at all really. I mean, why should a museum in another country have the time or interest to answer a question from an ordinary person, right?

Wrong! I received a lovely, helpful detailed reply from a real person at the museum, here's most of it:

'The Thackray Museum does indeed hold one an almost identical example
of these triangular bandages in its collections. The one in the museum
collections includes an illustration of the pima cotton plant with the words
'Registered Trade-Mark Gossypium Barbadense' added just below 'After
Esmarch'. The Registered (Design) Number 647071 in the lower right-hand
corner indicates that (a) the bandage's design was officially registered in
England and (b) that it was registered in 1915.

This means that the bandage itself cannot date from any earlier than 1915;
it could technically continue to be manufactured with that design for years
afterwards, but realistically I doubt very much that it was made much later
than 1918. The museum library holds illustrations of other Esmarch bandages
that both predate and postdate 1915.

The fact that both our bandages are so similar suggests to me that they were
probably produced by the same company, albeit possibly at different times.
Unfortunately, I'm not certain which company used the image containing the
image and the words 'Registered Trade-Mark Gossypium Barbadense'. I don't
think it was Vernon & Company but unfortunately I don't have the time at
present to properly research the holder of this trade-mark.

Friedrich von Esmarch (born 9 Jan 1823, died 23 Feb 1908) was a German
surgeon who was the first to introduce a first-aid kit and triage on the
battlefield. He introduced first aid training for both military and civilian
personnel. His handbooks of military surgical techniques were used
extensively as the best on the topic. The Esmarch bandage is a triangular
piece of linen or cotton, with a long side about 4 ft. It can be used folded
or open, and applied in 32 different ways. Esmarch insisted that every
soldier carry one in battle for temporary dressing and field-work. Esmarch
also invented an apparatus, using a narrow hard rubber tourniquet with a
chain fastener to control bleeding in tying off an extremity in such a way
that it is made bloodless. When used during amputation, being bloodless made
it easier to operate on a limb."

Thank you very much Jim Garretts of The Thackray Museum! I highly recommend their site if you're at all interested in the history of medicine & a visit is probably worth making if you're ever in Leeds!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So, got any good Medical History resources?

I recently acquired this fascinating instructional bandage. I think it's probably World War One era, judging by the type of drawing & the methods explained, but I really don't know for sure.

After searching the web & my history books (which admittedly aren't medical specific, Australian history is more my specialty) & finding absolutely nothing on this particular model & very little on similar ones, I'm stumped & looking for clues.

It says 'MADE IN ENGLAND' on the bottom right hand corner, 'REGISTERED.NUMBER.647071.' on the bottom right hand corner & FIRST-AID BANDAGE. (After Esmarch.) in the top corner.

I've found photos & references to Esmarch Bandages with German text, & American ones made by Johnson & Johnson, but the British one is nowhere to be found, I've only seen mention of it here McPheeters Antique Militaria which claims they were made by Vernon & Company but I can't find anything on that company either. Any ideas where to look for info would be greatly appreciated!