Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object ID # 1973.109.001
Object Name Prosthesis
Title Mechanical Hand Made by Andrew Gawley
Lexicon category 3: Personal Artifacts
Date Early 20th-century
Made Gawley, Andrew A.
Place of Origin Meaford, Municipality of Meaford, Grey County
Description Mechanical hand (prosthetic arm). This mechanical hand's working end has pivoting metal shapes (mostly flat surface areas) that could be used to grasp and hold onto items. There is a metal frame. There is a long, dark-brown tanned leather forearm piece that is strung together with a grommetted closure. There are two rows of eleven grommettes. The upper arm area has a dark-brown leather cuff that has two brass buckles and strapping. The straps have eleven holes each. Cannot see any markings to identify the maker, but the item was likely made by Andrew Gawley.
Makers mark None present
Provenance The previous owner, Wesley J. Quinton, reported that "Mr. Andrew Gawley lived across the road from the Globe Mills" [at Meaford, Grey County.] He had lost both arms in a sawmill accident at Cape Rich when he was a young man (17 years old), reportedly on his first day on the job. He was rushed by sleigh to Meaford for medical attention."
Andrew's father, Royal Gawley, despite being blind, later helped him by fashioning some crude steel mechanical hands at a blacksmith shop at Elsinore, Bruce County. Andrew then later improved upon these and made more hands. He toured with Mr. Ripley's company as he could do amazing things with his prostheses. He even was able to ride his racing bicycle with no problem. He later on operated a bicycle repair shop in Meaford. His steel hands allowed him to often tighten many parts without having to use tools.
Collection Medical/Dentistry, 20th-c Collection
Material Leather/Metal/Leather/Metal/Steel/Brass
Dimensions W-12.7 L-58.5 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Gawley, Andrew
Subjects Amputees
Search Terms Meaford
Function A prosthetic hand, meant only to be functional, and not to look like a natural hand.