After reaping medals for their heroism, it wasn't uncommon for disabled World War I soldiers to end up on the streets or as charity cases, destined to spend the rest of their lives basket-weaving or begging for change. Anticipating the end of the war, the Red Cross, the Federal Board of Vocational Education, the Surgeon-General's office and several other non-profit groups pursued measures to place disabled soldiers in jobs that would keep their dignity intact. This of course involved developing prosthesis to ease their transition to normal life. The man pictured on the left is wearing a "chuck" arm that could be fastened to a variety of appliances: utensils, shovels, boxing gloves, and pencil holders, to name a few. The artificial arm, which was made of steel wires and rawhide cords, didn't work as well as a natural arm, but it showed wounded veterans that they didn't have to take careers in piano-tuning or chair bottom-weaving to survive; they could be farmhands or assemblymen if they wished.
Read the full story in "Crippled But Undaunted"