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Editor: Claire L. Jones

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

1 INTRODUCTION: MODERN PROSTHESES IN ANGLO-​A MERIC AN COMMODITY CULTURES Claire L. Jones Commodification in contemporary perspective The present-​day relationship between disability, technology and commerce in the developed world is hugely intricate. While the medical-​industrial complex develops ever more innovative forms of myoelectric limb prostheses, cochlear ear implants and other devices designed to alleviate physical impairment, market responses to these technologies and the views these responses embody are diverse. For some, prosthetic technologies

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Prosthesis user-inventors and the market for assistive technologies in early nineteenth-century Britain
Laurel Daen

institutional libraries in New York and Toronto, medical collections in Copenhagen and Berlin and a garrison reading room in Gibraltar.2 Booksellers from Edinburgh to Philadelphia advertised the sale of the volume, and newspapers from Paris to Calcutta printed reviews.3 The Enchiridion’s geographic range was only equalled by its broad topical appeal. It was discussed in military magazines, literary weeklies, medical 94 94 Rethinking modern prostheses journals, mechanical periodicals and general-​interest publications, such as The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Prostheses for women in nineteenth-century literature and commerce
Ryan Sweet

14 5 ‘GET THE BEST ARTICLE IN THE MARKET’: PROSTHESES FOR WOMEN IN NINETEENTH-​C ENTURY LITERATURE AND COMMERCE Ryan Sweet Published during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Alonzo Hill’s John Smith’s Funny Adventures on a Crutch (1869) was a novel that provided a conspicuously gendered role model for maimed American veterans in the form of its eponymous protagonist. ‘[B]‌ear[ing] his mark with a patriotic sense of humor, and thereby scorn[ing] those who ignore his manly vigor’, the narrator-​ protagonist of Hill’s novel praises the work of prosthetist B

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Army, Medicine, and Modernity in WWI Germany

This book is a critical examination of the relationships between war, medicine, and the pressures of modernization in the waning stages of the German Empire. Through her examination of wartime medical and scientific innovations, government and military archives, museum and health exhibitions, philanthropic works, consumer culture and popular media, historian Heather Perry reveals how the pressures of modern industrial warfare did more than simply transform medical care for injured soldiers—they fundamentally re-shaped how Germans perceived the disabled body. As the Empire faced an ever more desperate labour shortage, military and government leaders increasingly turned to medical authorities for assistance in the re-organization of German society for total war. Thus, more than a simple history of military medicine or veteran care, Recycling the Disabled tells the story of the medicalization of modern warfare in Imperial Germany and the lasting consequences of this shift in German society.

Space, prosthetics and the First World War
Julie Anderson

, ‘threw the match away with an ease one would associate with a person not suffering from any disability’.1 To the audience, this veteran epitomised the restoration of function that was brought about by innovations in prosthetics during the First World War. There is no doubt that a significant number of British soldiers and sailors who experienced amputation in the First World War had an improved life experience owing to the provision of prostheses. More than 40,000 men suffered some form of limb loss.2 It is this scale of amputation that led some historians to argue

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

, artificial eardrums ceased to be classified by aural surgeons as surgical prostheses and became reclassified as domestic medical products, enjoying their heyday before disappearing into obscurity by the 1930s as ‘trivial, worthless, and often dangerous’.5 Aggressively advertised and marketed with entrepreneurial flair, these variations targeted the desperate consumer by proclaiming they could cure all cases of deafness with minimal discomfort and relative ease. On both sides of the Atlantic, the refrain of ‘DEAFNESS IS MISERY’ marked deafness as a debilitating condition

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

communication with others. But, judging from her own anecdote above, not all needed such encouragement; the problem was rather that many assumed that they could buy an appropriate hearing aid as readily as a pair of spectacles without any professional advice on the circumstances of their particular form of hearing loss.1 28 28 Rethinking modern prostheses We show that the often fraught experiences of acquiring and using a h­ earing aid necessitate a sensitively differentiated understanding of this apparently simple commercial transaction. Only some used hearing trumpets

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Artificial limb patents, medical professionalism and the moral economy in ante
Caroline Lieffers

manufacturers of prostheses in antebellum America. While Ryan Sweet’s chapter examines prostheses such as Palmer’s through a literary and cultural lens, the inventor’s entrepreneurial strategies take centre stage here. Though he had no formal medical training, Palmer, as the first part of this chapter demonstrates, owed much of his success to his ability to cast himself in the role of ‘surgeon-​artist’, 138 138 Rethinking modern prostheses Figure 6.1  Drawing from B. F. Palmer’s 1846 patent of his artificial leg, US Patent No. 4834. 139 Patents, professionalism and the

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
The co-creation of aural technology and disability
Coreen McGuire

in telecommunication technology revolutionised the ways in which 72 72 Rethinking modern prostheses the Deaf communicated; the rise of text messaging and social media in particular empowered Deaf technology users and allowed them to use a form of technology that had previously relied on audibility.7 The cultural distinction between hearing loss and Deafness has recently been further challenged by the ambiguities around cochlear implants and the contested identity of their users. In this chapter I show how, in the inter-​war years, amplified telephone technology

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