Sunday, May 2, 2010

Esmarch Bandage

Showing (almost) all the ways a body can be bandaged.  Who knew?

According to Wikipedia "Johannes Friedrich August von Esmarch (January 9, 1823 – February 23, 1908) was a German surgeon. He developed the Esmarch bandage and founded the Deutscher Samariter-Verein, the predecessor of the Deutscher Samariter-Bund."  He gained lots of battlefield surgical experience in various European wars, married a princess, and, in 1877, wrote a handbook on battlefield surgical procedures and hospital management.  He became very well-known for his first aid lectures at the Samaritan School, which he founded in 1881, and he developed this bandage, which can be used 32 ways for a temporary dressing and in field work.

You can see several other versions of this bandage at the Wikipedia site referenced above.  Here is what they have evolved  to.  Here is a cool picture of the original.  Wonder if all that ink affected the wounds?  Here is an explanation of it:

"The Royal Society of Medicine holds a rare example of an Esmarch bandage. Enclosed with Esmarch's 1869 book on military first aid, Der erste Verband auf dem Schlachtfelde, the bandage is illustrated with a battlefield scene depicting soldiers wearing the Esmarch bandage to demonstrate its various methods of application.
 The Esmarch bandage will be on display as part of the RSM Library's forthcoming exhibition of books illustrating the history of military and naval medicine from the sixteenth to the nineteen century.

The exhibition is entitled "He Who Wishes to be a Surgeon Should Go to War", and is scheduled to run from 8th June - 14th August 2009."

Here is an imposter.  Here is one exactly like mine!  Now I have a date - 1900 - 1906.  Wonder how much it sold for?  I don't remember, but couldn't have paid more than $5 for mine.  Note that on mine the guy lying down on the left is splinted with umbrellas!  The German version from the same time period uses rifles.

Hope you've enjoyed this little excursion into medical history.  I had to look at a lot of disturbing photographs to produce this.  Excuse me while I go hug a kitty. . . .


  1. I agree the pictures are a bit creepy. I think I'll go hug my kitty too.

  2. I found one of these too. Thanks for all the information.


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