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McKay artificial left arm, United Kingdom, 1920

Each of the 41,000 British soldiers who lost a limb during the First World War were entitled to a prosthetic limb and replacements once the limb was beyond repair. The elbow joint of this limb can be locked in six positions and the hard rubber hand removed and replaced by other attachments, such as a hook. The socket and forearm are made from Duralumin, a hard but lightweight alloy of aluminium and copper, formerly used in aircraft. There are holes punched into the arm are for elastic laces. The label gives the fitter’s initials and the date “24 April 1920”. Made for a person who had their left arm amputated above the elbow, this type of arm is named after its maker, The McKay Artificial Limb Company.

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial arm

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