Author Bob O’Connor recently published a historical fiction book about Private James E. Hanger, founder of J. E. Hanger Inc. and inventor of the Hanger Limb.
The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hanger, Civil War Soldier is about Hanger’s left leg amputation, the first of the Civil War, and the development of the Hanger Limb after his return home.
“Hanger was fitted with a peg leg, which he hated. He found it frustrating and pretty much useless,” O’Connor stated in a press release. “When he was sent home to Churchville, Va., Hanger used his engineering background from Washington College and ingenuity to build himself an artificial limb that had both a hinge at the knee and a rotating angle joint. His invention, called the Hanger Limb, and his many subsequent patents helped revolutionize the prosthetic leg industry.”
During the Civil War, Hanger had contracts with the Confederate government and the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide artificial limbs to Confederate veterans. After the war, he opened numerous artificial limb factories to provide Hanger Limbs for all veterans and, later, for industry workers, the American Red Cross, and amputees in France and England. Based on historic records, O’Connor’s book includes copies of Hanger’s patents, photographs of the early Hanger factories and a vintage Hanger Limb.