Hanger Celebrates Centennial
Stockton Banks *
The year 1961 marks one hundred years of service in the field of prosthetics for the Hanger Organization. This well known group of companies had its beginnings in Richmond, Virginia, in the first months of the Civil War.
James Edward Hanger, its noted founder, was himself an amputee at the age of 18—the victim of two unfortunate firsts. He was a casualty of the first land battle of the War Between the States, and the loss of his leg was the first amputation of that war. This is attested by a bronze marker at Philippi, West Virginia, which reads in part:
"First Land Battle of the Civil War "From this spot on the morning of June 3rd, 1861, was fired the first cannon after Fort Sumter . . .
". . . James E. Hanger, of Churchville, Virginia, was wounded in the leg by a cannon ball and his leg was amputated by Dr. Robinson of the 16th Ohio Infantry. This was the first amputation of the War. . . ."
J.E. Hanger had entered Washington and Lee University in the fall of 1859. After the loss of his leg the engineering training he had begun in college helped him to devise an artificial leg for his own use, as well as limbs for several comrades in Richmond. His success led him to devote his life to this work, and he received a commission from the State of Virginia to manufacture limbs for Confederate veterans. His firm began business in Richmond in 1861 and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., in 1888. Mr. Hanger was granted two patents by the Confederate States of America, and later patents were issued to him by the United States Patent Office. A copy of one of these, dated 1891, is on file in the Association's headquarters.
Mr. Hanger's six sons followed him into the artificial limb business, and expansion followed rapidly. Hanger facilities are now in operation in many of the principal cities of this country and Canada. The group of J. E. Hanger companies have been active members of the Association since the days of the old Artificial Limb Manufacturers Association. McCarthy Hanger, Sr., the late president of J.E. Hanger, Inc., of Missouri, served as ALMA's president in 1921-25 and again in 1930-32. His son. McCarthy Hanger, Jr., who is now president of the Hanger facility in Missouri, was OALMA's president in 1954-55 and was vice president of the American Board for Certification in 1957-58. M.P. Cestaro, president of J.E. Hanger, Inc., of Washington, has served untiringly as treasurer of the Association for the past ten years. Daniel A. McKeever, treasurer of J.E. Hanger of Georgia, was OALMA president in 1949-50 and also has served as president of the American Board for Certification, and Howard R. Thranhardt, secretary of J.E. Hanger of Georgia, is now president of ABC.
As the Hanger organization begins its second hundred years of service to the disabled, the Journal offers its congratulations on past accomplishments, and its best wishes for continued achievements.
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