Bandages- What women made and why.

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
10,680
#1
We frequently hear of women making bandages to send to the front. We know what they are of course, but perhaps we are not as familiar with how they are made and how they are used.
Bandages could be factory produced, but the demand was so great that the public was called upon to help with the need.
1552493925105.png

Reproduction of original factory machine made bandages in a tin.
www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/civil-war-tin-rolled-bandage-field-1817711713

Here was a way for women to aid in the war effort without leaving their homes or communities. Almost anyone could make them and they were essential to their sons, fathers, and husbands. They also quickly realized that by organizing themselves into groups they could accomplish more and faster.
1552495210299.png

www.pawtuckethistoryresearchcenter

So what went into making a bandage and how were they made?
Contemporary newspapers were great sources of information: "The April 27, 1861 issue of the "Flushing Journal" of Long Island New York, published the following:

"Bandages may be made from soft, pliable unglazed muslin. Unglazed muslin. Unbleached muslin of medium quality is as good as the more expensive bleached material. If bandages are made by sewing together firm old muslin the seams should be flat. The following table exhibits the length, breadth, and proportion in which bandages should be prepared:

1st Length, 6 yds. Breadth 4 in. Prop. 2-10
2d Length, 6 yds. Breadth 3 in. Prop. 3-10
3d Length, 6 yds. Breadth 2 1/2 Prop. 4-10
4th Length, 1 1/2 Breadth 1 Prop. 1-10

"These should be evenly rolled, into compact cylinders, the free end securely fastened with two pins, and upon it the length distinctly marked. The rollers should then be made into packages of convenient size, by turning the free end of one roller around the remainder."
civilwarrx.blogspot.com

Accordingly women North and South shopped for muslin cloth and rummaged through their linen closets, pulling out sheets, tableclothes and towels, even ripping up petticoats and summer dresses in order to send bandages to the front lines and to hospitals. A good quality bandage could be wash and reused several times.



As the war progressed equipment was made to increase the output of bandages. This bandage roller would save a lot of time, but might have been hard on the arm and wrist.

.
1552497006394.png

Pinterest

Oh well, you could take turns, and there was probably tea and cake at the end of the afternoon!

1552498253475.png

Pinterest
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
10,680
#7
So they would roll up bandages against their bloody aprons? and maybe I missed it - but how were they attached to the body - was tape around then - pins - tied them on? This was an interesting post and I'm sure there was always time for tea.
They were tied or pinned on. The bandages were put over dressings made of softer, more absorbent materials of various kinds, which the bandages held in place. They were also used as slings for injured arms.
I doubt if they would have rolled the bandages up on their dirty aprons, but it is possible. It seems to me that would be done at a time when there was a lull in fighting, as they would need them to frequently during and after battles to be bothered rolling them.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,124
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#9
They were tied or pinned on. The bandages were put over dressings made of softer, more absorbent materials of various kinds, which the bandages held in place. They were also used as slings for injured arms.
I doubt if they would have rolled the bandages up on their dirty aprons, but it is possible. It seems to me that would be done at a time when there was a lull in fighting, as they would need them to frequently during and after battles to be bothered rolling them.

Ran across the lint too? It took awhile to figure that out- there's mention of it in contribution lists by various relief societies. I ' think ' it was literally scraped from cotton cloth and collected. It may be what you described, the soft covering over wounds before the bandage? Guessing there was something laid on the wound first, otherwise anything like lint would sure make a mess of an open wound.
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
1,351
Location
Gettysburg area
#10
Ran across the lint too? It took awhile to figure that out- there's mention of it in contribution lists by various relief societies. I ' think ' it was literally scraped from cotton cloth and collected. It may be what you described, the soft covering over wounds before the bandage? Guessing there was something laid on the wound first, otherwise anything like lint would sure make a mess of an open wound.
I wondered about this too. How was lint prepared and supplied? Was it pressed into sheets or some other form?
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top