Collection online

artificial hand

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Artificial left-hand; iron; moveable fingers and thumb; hole of square section through thumb; sliding catch at wrist; large nail through palm for securing reins.

  • Date

    • 16thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 18 centimetres
    • Weight: 326 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    Three similar items from the same period are located within the collections of the Science Museum, London. For further details see NMSI Collections Online, object numbers A121470, A634417 and A69335.Photographic and x-ray observations appear to show that each articulated finger has an internal strip-spring (most now broken and detached) that would have held them closed. The four fingers pivot at the knuckles under compression from a main spring within the palm which appears to have been released, allowing the hand to grip, by means of a small stud, running in an L-shaped slot, on the top exterior of the hand. It is likely that the thumb was also originally closed under compression by means of an internal spring, the broken part of which is still riveted in place within the hand.

    Comment by Jamie Hood, Metals Conservator, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, British Museum.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2012-2013 12 Feb-24 Feb, Edinburgh, National War Museum of Scotland, Reconstructing Lives.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: MCN4952

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