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CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MEDICAL DEPARTMENT CRUTCH – SCARCE EARLY US ARMY MEDICAL PIECE:  The sort of collectable that appears rarely on the market, this Civil War era Crutch is stamped “USMD” for the US Army’s United States Medical Department.  

This crutch is full length and has survived the passage of time in remarkable condition.  Measuring 47 ¼” tall, with an armrest 7 ½” long and 1½” thick, the upright is solid with no cracks, splits.  The upright, as originally made, is fashioned of two pieces of wood spliced together 15” from the lower end with very skillfully executed mortises, held in place with wood screws and wooden pins.  The arm rest is fitted to the upright with a socket and tenon arrangement, with a wooden wedge in the tenon to maintain the fit, and secured in place with a wooden peg.  The armrest was covered at one time with a pad of some sort and the iron tacks that held the pad in place are still present, nice evidence that this crutch was indeed used during its service life.   

These Civil War era crutches are normally marked with a painted stencil.  This crutch was not only stenciled, but was also stamped “USMD” into the surface of the wood.  This is an unusual feature – very nice to find in this condition, as the stamping is clear and legible as can be seen in the photograph below.  Due to the age and wear from use and handling, only the “U” of the painted on stencil survived.   Both the stenciled “U” and the “USMD” stamping show the appropriate age and wear confirming that these marks were applied during the period of use and that they are genuine markings.  

This is a very nice crutch, with the added value of bearing the US Medical Department identification, as well as the evidence of use in the once padded armrest, and it would make a very poignant addition to a Civil War display and a welcome addition to any military medical display.  SOLD


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