From Pegleg to Prosthetics


I had the opportunity to learn about prosthetic devices while doing research for A Widow’s Salvation, which is a story about how the (American) Civil War affected the everyday person. While we’ve all heard stories about Pegleg Pete and Captain Hook and their prosthetics, I had no idea such devices had been uncovered as far back at 950 BC! Obviously, these were crude devices at best. It wasn’t until the Civil War in the 1860s that advances in prosthetics began to emerge. 

The huge number of amputations that were being done to save lives of the soldiers forced America to focus on the betterment of prosthetic devices for their soldiers. James Hanger was one of the first amputees of this war and took it upon himself to fashion a limb from whittled barrel staves. This crude device was transformed and advancements in the way prosthetics fit and worked happened in rapid succession due to the Civil War.

When I see the men and women who have lost legs due to war or other tragedy using today’s high-tech computerized prosthetics to run marathons, I am in awe of how far this industry has come.


Becky Lower loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. She has a degree is in English and Journalism and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with a puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

Visit her website at

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