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Civil War Amputee Soldier’s Eating Utensil, as in books and museums (SOLD)

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Product Description

This is another unique and rare item offered, it is a Civil War soldier’s Invalid Eating Utensil. It measures approximately 8” x 1 1/4” with a steel blade and what appears to be a celluloid handle. The design was such that the blade would cut the food by a rocking motion of the blade and then the end would act like a fork to be used for eating. This was a necessity for anyone with only one arm.

Although the exact number is not known, approximately 60,000 surgeries, about three quarters of all the operations performed during the war, were amputations. About 80 percent of the wound’s soldiers received during the Civil War were in the soldier’s arms, hands, legs, and feet. With the shortage of surgeons, it is said "The limbs of soldiers are in as much danger from the ardor of young surgeons as from the missiles of the enemy."

It was very common for a soldiers to lose an arm during the war and such utensils would help them to take care of themselves. In my recent book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I have a very similar example included (see pictures). In the book I write “Although artificial limbs were available, many veterans felt that instead of hiding their injury with prosthesis, they would make their sacrifice visible. The display of an ‘honorable scar’, especially during and immediately after the war, helped amputees to assert their contribution to the cause”.

This unique piece has seen plenty of use, but still remains in very nice condition and the handle is tight. No doubt a veteran would have used this for the rest of his life. An identical example is in the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA (see pictures). It would make a great addition to a soldier or medical display. It comes in the glass top display case pictured.

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$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)