Prosthetic hands in storage at Blythe House, Science Museum, 2007.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Due to lack of space and because of the size of the collection, more than 170,000 of the Science Museum's objects are stored in Blythe House, former headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank. Many of these objects have never been on public display. The 'Openshaw' wooden artificial hand (below centre), was designed by Thomas Openshaw, a surgeon at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, during World War I. A special feature of the hand is that the the ring and little fingers are held rigid, in a slightly flexed position, with steel reinforcement which extends into the palm. This allows bags and other objects to be carried. The thumb, index and middle fingers have a certain degree of articulation. The wrist is oval with a screw fitment for attachment to a prosthetic arm. Made by Anderson & Whitelaw, England.