The Gepetto of Prosthetic Limbs: These Early Prostheses Made by James Gillingham From 1900 Were Decades Ahead of Time – Design You Trust

The Gepetto of Prosthetic Limbs: These Early Prostheses Made by James Gillingham From 1900 Were Decades Ahead of Time

0
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

Nicknamed the “Gepetto of Prosthetic Limbs,” James Gillingham (1839–1924) was a British boot and shoemaker at his Golden Shoe shop until 1863 when he began making artificial limbs made from leather and molded like a pair of shoes.

1
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

His first prosthetic limb was for William Singleton, a local man who lost an arm firing a cannon for a celebratory salute, which Gillingham made at no cost to Singleton. He then made prostheses on a permanent basis. Chard, as a result, became a major centre of the British artificial limb industry.

2
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

“I soon became popular. As the claims on my time in this direction increased, I gave up my original business and threw my whole energy into the new sphere of usefulness. I had to get a plant, forge, lathes and tools and learn how to use them. I soon began to work in metal, wood and plaster, leather and fabrics. I had to sink my earnings for years to establish myself.” – James Gillingham

3
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

By 1910, he had restored mobility and function to over 15,000 patients. He photographed many of his patients, and published the photos in medical journals to advise surgeons on the best amputation methods. Gillingham died in 1924, but his family continued his business for decades before finally closing in the 1960s.

4
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

5
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

6
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

7
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

8
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

9
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

10
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

11
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

12
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

13
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

14
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

15
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

16
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

17
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

18
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

19
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

20
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

21
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

22
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

23
James Gillingham/SSPL/Getty Images

If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories