Monday, August 03, 2009

Heart valves grow on trees

At the time of the receipt of the Howard J. Stroud Papers (Accession 2007-015), we posted a short notice in this space. Beyond creating a basic inventory of the collection, not much processing has gone on in the ensuing months.

This morning, I was poking through the photographs looking for interesting images of heart research here in Oregon--since Stroud was director of the Oregon Heart Association for decades. The collection does not disappoint. Along with numerous photos of dignitaries, events, researchers, and heart surgery, we have this shot of the Starr-Edwards heart valve tree. Written in ink on the back of the photo is this information: "Forming a pattern set-up, "tree", from expendable wax patterns. This setup will be coated with mold material. Patterns removed by heat to form mold. Metal poured into ceramic mold to form castings."

We have, of course, heard the stories (myths?) of the little old ladies who would sit around and knit the fabric sleeves for the valves, one by one. This device from Edwards Labs clearly accelerated the manufacturing process...

Too cool! Many examples of completed Starr-Edwards valves can be seen in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.

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