The Story of Ernest Hanna and His Prosthetic Legs

Of the more than six different prosthetic legs in the collections of the Museum of Health Care, only two can be connected back to one specific person.

That person, pictured here as a young boy, is Ernest Hanna, a farmer from Lyn, Ontario.

Around the year 1931, when he was thirty-five years old, Ernest was involved in an accident while driving a horse and carriage (or sleigh!), when his horse bolted and Ernest sustained a compound fracture of his left femur. His wounds became infected and Ernest was forced to have his leg amputated.

 Ernest then acquired two prosthetic legs– one which he called his “working leg,” and the other his “Sunday leg.” They were well-made, using wood, leather, and metal, and were painted and dressed to match his natural leg, including socks pinned into the wood. Walking with a cane, Ernest worked on his farm using these same two prosthetic legs until he passed away in 1969.

Ernest’s son Raymond took care of his father’s prosthetics until he too passed away and the limbs were donated to the Museum of Health Care by Ernest’s granddaughter Tanya.

To learn more about Ernest Hanna and the history of prosthetic limbs, visit our blog post at

Shaelyn Ryan<br>(Collections Technician/Assistant 2020-2021)
Shaelyn Ryan
(Collections Technician/Assistant 2020-2021)

Shaelyn Ryan is an undergraduate student Queen’s University, currently completing her forth (and final) year in the Bachelor of Arts History Program. Either as a Summer Student or Work-Study Student through Queen’s University, Shaelyn has helped catalogue and research many of the museum’s collection of artefacts as a Collections Technician (since 2018).

Leave a Reply