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An articulated wood and leather prosthetic leg of a Slovenian soldier wounded in World War I (1917)

A pegleg is a prosthesis, or artificial limb, fitted to the remaining stump of a human leg. Its use dates to antiquity.[1]

By the late 19th century, prosthetics vendors would offer peglegs as cheaper alternatives to more intricate, lifelike artificial legs.[2] Even as vendors touted advantages of more complicated prostheses over simple peglegs,[2] according to a contemporary surgeon, many patients found a pegleg more comfortable for walking.[3] According to medical reports, some amputees were able to adjust to the use of a pegleg so well that they could walk 10, or even 30, miles in one day.[4]

Nowadays, wooden peglegs have been replaced by more modern materials, though some sports prostheses do have the same form.[5]

Notable pegleg wearers[edit]

Pegleg of Józef Sowiński




  1. ^ Cantos, Mae (2005) "Pirates & Peg Legs: a Historical Look at Amputation and Prosthetics" In: Whitelaw, William A. (2005) (editor) Proceedings of the 14h Annual History of Medicine Days Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, pp. 16–20, OCLC 225558769, page 16
  2. ^ a b Marks, George Edwin (1888), A Treatise on Marks' patent artificial limbs with rubber hands and feet, A. A. Marks, p. 47 
  3. ^ Tillmanns, Hermann (1895), Stimson, Lewis Atterbury, ed., itle The principles of surgery and surgical pathology: general rules governing operations and the application of dressings, D. Appleton and company, p. 128 
  4. ^ Teale, Thomas Pridgin (1858), On amputation by a long and a short rectangular flap, pp. 29, 31 
  5. ^ Clarke, Carl D. (1965) Prosthetics Standard Arts Press, Butler, Maryland, OCLC 5083790, page 182
  6. ^ "...he lost his leg at Saint Martin.."
  7. ^ Mason, Christopher (21 September 2000) "At Home with Christopher Gibbs: A Parting Embrace For a Lifetimes Quirks" The New York Times, page 2 of electronic copy; for full details see Poole, Steve (2000) The politics of regicide in England, 1760-1850: troublesome subjects Manchester University Press, Manchester, England, pages 169-172, ISBN 0-7190-5035-9

Further reading[edit]


  • Murdoch, George and Wilson, A. Bennett (1998) A primer on amputations and artificial limbs C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, ISBN 0-398-06800-3
  • Pitkin, Mark R. (2009) Biomechanics of Lower Limb Prosthetics Springer verlag, New York, ISBN 978-3-642-03015-4
  • Seymour, Ron (2002) Prosthetics and orthotics: lower limb and spinal Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ISBN 0-7817-2854-1
  • Warren, D. W. (2001) James Gillingham: surgical mechanist & manufacturer of artificial limbs Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society, Taunton, England, ISBN 0-9533539-5-8



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