RailwaySurgery.org Banner

Image Gallery 3: Artificial Limbs


Amputation victim    Amputation victim

Amputations occurred all too commonly on the railroads, as these illustrations (above) from Dr. Herrick’s textbook remind us.  These represent a small sample of the many unfortunate injuries he depicted.  The link-and-pin coupler (below) caused many of these injuries.  Notice the brakeman stands right between the two rail cars as the locomotive pushes them together.  He had to hold the link up and guide it into position in the slot, then jump out of the way before they got too close. 

Source:  Herrick, Clinton B.  Railway Surgery:  A Handbook on the Management of Injuries.  New York:  William Wood and Co., 1899


Brakeman coupling cars with dangerous link-and-pin coupler                  Unsafe link-and-pin coupler


Railway injuries generated a large amount of business for artificial limb manufacturers such as A. A. Marks, which advertised heavily in The Railway Surgeon.  The advertisements listed many railroads using their products, and included illustrations (sometimes of dubious credibility) showing persons with two prosthetic legs working in strenuous railroad occupations or walking on a tightrope.  The automatic coupler, developed in the late 19th century, allowed “hands off” coupling and greatly reduced these types of injuries.


Ad for artificial limbs

 The Railway Surgeon, vol. 1, no. 1, 5 June 1894

Ad for artificial limbs

The Railway Surgeon, vol. 3, no. 25(suppl 1), 4 May 1897

 Ad for artificial limbs

The Railway Surgeon, vol. 1, no. 12, 6 November 1894


The following two ads are from The Railway Surgeon, vol. 3, no. 9, 22 Sept. 1896

Ad for artificial limbs

Ad for artificial limbs


Display of artificial limbs

The J. I. Lyons company displayed this exhibit (above) at the 10th Annual Convention of the National Association of Railway Surgeons in Chicago.

The Railway Surgeon, vol. 3 no. 27, 6 May 1897


The Railway Surgeon, vol. 3 no. 25(supp1), 4 May 1897



Previous:  Image Gallery 2 – Other Images                               Back to Image Gallery Main Page


Additional images appear on other pages of this website.  To avoid redundancy, most of these are not included in the Image Gallery.


RailwaySurgery.org - Site Map


Home     A Brief History of Railway Surgery    A Detailed History of Railway Surgery    Railway Surgeons and Vision/Hearing Testing

  Army Hospital Trains    List of Railroad Hospitals    Image Gallery    Become a Railway Surgeon    Archives    Where to Learn More    About Us/Site News      Blog