limbs, in one form or other, have been in use from ancient times. In 1885 a
specimen was discovered in a tomb at Capua, Italy, along with other relics
dating from 300BC. The celebrated artificial hand built in 1509 for the
German knight Gõtz von Berlichingen, who was called Gõtz of the Iron Hand,
weighed about 1.4 kg (3 lb) and had articulated fingers so constructed as to
be able to grasp a sword or lance. The hand is in the Nürnberg Museum and is
still in working order. Early in the 19th century a German prosthetist built
a hand with fingers that could be flexed or extended without assistance and
yet could still close to hold light objects, such as a pen, a handkerchief,
or a hat. In 1851 a French prosthetist invented an artificial arm fitted with
a wooden hand and attached to a leather socket that fitted the stump firmly.
The fingers were half-closed, the thumb pivoted on a pin and could press
firmly against the fingertips by a concealed, strong rubber band; the grasp
of the thumb could be operated by a mechanism attached to the opposite
shoulder. The same inventor devised a leg that reproduced a natural gait and
lengthened the stride.