Hammers of the University of Minnesota
about 1960 Dr. A.B. Baker had several reflex hammers
manufactured as gifts for his department. The hammer resembled the classical
Taylor hammer devised by John Madison Taylor 1855-1931 (for further history on
several hammers see “hammers”) but with several improvements; Longer handle for
better leverage, golden handle for esthetics, softer rubber striking surfaces,
handle engraved with recipient’s name.
Baker hammers were very useful and cherished as remembrances of Dr. Baker.
the supply became depleted and the source of the hammers lost.
2005 Dr. William R. Kennedy tested several hammers, most notably several Tromner hammers of different weights that were shipped from
Cynthia Heise-Swartz, Medworks
Instruments P.O. Box 581 Chatham, IL 62629. (800) 323-9790 FAX (773) 751-2055
(217) 698-3935 email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. After consulting
with several neurologists, especially Dr. David C. Anderson, Head of Neurology,
The Tromner hammer of 196 grams was chosen to have
the best weight. Kennedy Family Foundation purchased 50 hammers and gift
wrapped with an enclosed description of the origin of the hammer (below) for
all current Neurology residents. The successful receipt of these hammers led to
purchase of 200 additional hammers by the Foundation for the next several
generations of Minnesota Neurologists. Thus was born the second “Minnesota
handle is gold plated in Turkey
and engraved with the name of each recipient. The rubber bumpers are of a silastic material that is advertised as never to harden.
The large bumper is for tendon reflexes of larger muscles, biceps, triceps,
Achilles, patellar. The smaller bumper is for children and obtaining the glabellar eye blink reflex etc. Dr. Kennedy stated “if a
Neurologist cannot obtain a reflex response with this hammer, there is no
reflex to be had.”
This well balanced 190 gram
hammer from MedWorks, Springfield,
IL is a close copy of the original produced in
Hamburg by Kauth and Company. The style was carefully selected from a
number of TrUmner-like hammers of different designs
and weights by Dr. William R. Kennedy who provided personalized hammers to the
Department of Neurology for presentation by Department Head Dr. David
C. Anderson to physicians who have trained in Neurology at the University of Minnesota and valued associates.
Dr. med. Ernst L. 0. Trömner was born in Meerane, Saxony, in 1868. He obtained his medical degree at Leipzig in 1893, and 5 years later began to
practice as a neurologist in Hamburg.
During the next 32 years he was active in neurologic investigation and
practice, describing, among other things, the fmger
reflex which still bears his name and of which the Hofftnann
sign is a modification. He designed the percussion hammer sometime during this
productive period which ended with his death on May 27, 1930. Professor Trömner’s hammer has several special features that made it
valuable to many users over the years. He designed the tapered handle, with its
sharp point, for testing of abdominal reflexes. It is also used in testing for
the sign of Babinski. The two rubber heads to this
hammer (now silicon for durability) have been thoughtfully conceived. The
larger head is soft enough for comfortable percussion through the examiner’s
palpating fmger, and the smaller head is particularly
useful in infants and when testing for myoedema and myotomc reactions in the tongue, thenar
eminence, finger extensors, deltoid or other muscles.
In 1927 Dr. Henry W. Woitman spent 6 months in Europe
at the outstanding neurologic centers. In Hamburg he was so impressed by the balance
and design of one particular percussion hammer that he purchased five of them.
Keeping one for himself he presented the remaining “Trömner
Hammers” to the other neurologists at the Mayo Clinic; Drs. Walter D. Shelden, Frederick P. Moersch
(who like himself received their education in neurology at the University of Minnesota) and Drs. Harry L. Parker and
John B. Doyle.
(modified from The Trömner Hammer, A Historical Postscript; E. Douglas Rooke M.D.)