Re-arming the disabled
WWI and the revolution in artificial limbs
in Recycling the disabled
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Chapter two examines the changes in artificial limb technology and the expansion of orthopaedic authority into this aspect of disability care. Before the war, prosthetic limbs had concentrated on either masking disability by replicating the appearance of the human arm or by facilitating small everyday movements. However, sending the disabled back to work meant reconstructing their bodies in ways which would facilitate heavy labor or specialized tasks. As the casualties mounted, orthopaedists positioned themselves as experts not only in the medical treatment of the disabled, but also in the design and distribution of artificial limbs. They gradually enlisted engineers and “scientists of work” into their mission to develop limbs and devices which more closely replicated the functions—not the form--of the human body.

Recycling the disabled

Army, Medicine, and Modernity in WWI Germany

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