Pair of non-articulated metal legs for a male Thalidomide teenager, 1975.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The legs consist of blocked leather sockets with a front velcro flap, to facilitate the insertion of the respective feet. Adjustable feet-retaining straps are used to overcome the 'piston' action when walking. Rigid pelvic bands with hip joints and 'ring-catch' locks have been fitted. To aid stability the wooden feet have completely flat soles nad a leather imitation shoe covering. Thalidomide was developed in West Germany in the mid-1950s and was initially used as a sedative and an antiemetic until the discovery that it caused severe foetal malformations.