Civil War veteran’s ingenious, self-designed mechanical arms [3 pictures]

By Abraham Piper

In 1862, Union soldier Samuel Decker was reloading his gun when it misfired and blew off half of both his arms. By 1865, he had designed and overseen the building of a set of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs “hitherto unrivaled for [their] ingenuity and utility.” With his new arms he was able to feed and clothe himself as well as perform even more challenging tasks such as picking up objects as small as a pin, and — almost as important as eating and dressing — he regained the ability to write.

In 1867, he was invited to the Army Medical Museum where he sat for photos so that he and his invention could be documented…

Civil War Vet's Mechanical Arms - 01

Civil War Vet's Mechanical Arms - 03

Civil War Vet's Mechanical Arms - 02

(via Center for the History of Medicine, Reddit)