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Drawing together essays written by scholars from Great Britain and the United States, this book provides an important contribution to the emerging field of disability history. It explores the development of modern transatlantic prosthetic industries in nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reveals how the co-alignment of medicine, industrial capitalism, and social norms shaped diverse lived experiences of prosthetic technologies and in turn, disability identities. Through case studies that focus on hearing aids, artificial tympanums, amplified telephones, artificial limbs, wigs and dentures, this book provides a new account of the historic relationship between prostheses, disability and industry. Essays draw on neglected source material, including patent records, trade literature and artefacts, to uncover the historic processes of commodification surrounding different prostheses and the involvement of neglected companies, philanthropists, medical practitioners, veterans, businessmen, wives, mothers and others in these processes. Its culturally informed commodification approach means that this book will be relevant to scholars interested in cultural, literary, social, political, medical, economic and commercial history.

Abstract only
Claire L. Jones

previous exclusion of impaired individuals from social, cultural, economic and political life.3 Concurrently, however, some who reject medical conceptions of disability may have an uncomfortable relationship with prostheses; they may use an assistive device to function where barriers to access still persist, on public-​transport systems, for example, and in such situations, their prosthesis conceals the social marker of impairment, allowing them to pass as ‘able-​bodied’. Other individuals subvert manufacturers’ intended use for the technology by using their prosthesis

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Interpreting ‘patented’ aids to the deaf in Victorian Britain
Graeme Gooday
Karen Sayer

find them some little thing that they may put into their ears, that will make them hear everything, without anybody finding out what is the matter with them.’ Harriet Martineau, ‘Letter to the Deaf ’, Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, April 1834 Hearing assistive devices were a more or less visible feature of middle-​class and aristocratic life throughout the nineteenth century. Since up to one-​sixth of the population has historically been affected by hearing loss at some stage of their lives, the ubiquity (and therefore effective mundanity) of hearing aids seems easily

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
‘Good fit’ in artificial eardrums
Jaipreet Virdi

disability. 50 50 Rethinking modern prostheses Designating a cure In Chapter 1, Graeme Gooday and Karen Sayer make the case for aids to hearing being classified as prostheses, given their intimate proximity in assisting a ‘defective’ sense.9 Though prostheses have commonly been considered as replacements for a damaged or missing body part rendered permanently inoperative or malfunctioning, Katherine Ott asserts that prostheses rather ‘fall within the broad category of assistive devices that people use to support what they want to do’, as much as they refer to implanted

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Gill Haddow

becoming increasingly common and complex, or ‘smart’ as colleagues and I have termed it (Harmon, Haddow and Gilman, 2015 , Haddow, Harmon and Gilman, 2016 ). The number of therapeutic devices that are semi-autonomous and (partially) implanted range from cochlear and retinal implants, neuro-bionics, DBSs (deep brain stimulators), neuro-implants, vagus nerve stimulators, cardiac pacemakers, LVADs (left ventricular assist devices), artificial pancreas and ICDs. These are arguably different from prosthetics because all of these devices perform an active function rather

in Embodiment and everyday cyborgs
The Royal Ear Hospital, 1816–1900
Jaipreet Virdi

Deafness, then, became a condition to be treated and cured, placed exclusively in the domain of medical experts. 5 Part of the shift was grounded in oralist demands for the deaf to be ‘hearing-minded’: to seek out ‘cures’ for their afflictions, make use of assistive devices or, at the very least, ‘pass’ as hearing. 6 Guided by new knowledge in the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the ear – and a greater incidence of successful treatments – aurists stressed that deafness

in Disability and the Victorians
Open Access (free)
Medicine, care and rehabilitation
Kirsti Bohata
Alexandra Jones
Mike Mantin
, and
Steven Thompson

one applicant was provided with a ‘foot and socket leg’ costing around £6 6s. 0d., the other workman and the female applicant were each recommended wooden legs costing £1 1s. 0d. each.68 Medical aid societies did not limit themselves to providing artificial limbs. Other prosthetics and assistive devices were available, most commonly trusses, but also orthopaedic boots, surgical belts, spectacles and a range of ‘invalid chairs’.69 At the same time, new technology could be rejected for questionable reliability. The committee of the Ebbw Vale scheme refused to grant

in Disability in industrial Britain
Deaf people as objects of research, reform, and eugenics, 1900–1940
Marion Andrea Schmidt

improve oralist education. 58 In later decades, Hudgins’ division would also explore the use of assistive devices, such as hearing aids. In these early years of the research department, a lasting pattern of division of work formed between the Clarke School and outside researchers, with important implications for how deafness was researched, and how research was applied. Both sides profited from their cooperation. For the school, employing outside researchers maximized their resources and provided access to academic research and networks. Moreover, it associated

in Eradicating deafness?
Open Access (free)
Gill Haddow

medical technologies such as CIs and glucose monitors, cardiac devices such as ventricular assist devices, pacemakers or ICDs and DBSs are examples of medical technologies that are becoming increasingly ‘smart’ (Haddow, Harmon and Gilman, 2016 ). As colleagues and I have noted elsewhere, these devices are smart because they are capable of being responsive to changes within the body they were implanted in without human intervention (Harmon, Haddow and Gilman, 2015 ). Such medical implants are more sensitive, responsive and autonomous in their functionality when

in Embodiment and everyday cyborgs
Open Access (free)
Coreen Anne McGuire

has long been noted by historians of sound and science, and Post Office engineers in the interwar period had considerable expertise in both telecommunications and hearing assistive devices. Telephone technology thus contributed to increased quantification of the human body and the interwar shift towards mechanised practical measures of hearing. Using machines in this way led to what Daston and Galison term ‘mechanical objectivity’. In their framing, technologies such as photography led to distrust in human visual perception due to expectation of perception; so it

in Measuring difference, numbering normal