Milton S. Wirtz, D.D.S., Artificial Eye Collection, 1941-1947; 1973-1988
Wirtz, Milton S. Dr. (dentist)
Dietz, Victor Major
Erpf, Stanley F. Captain
0.3 cu. ft.: 1 document box and 1 oversize folder
Mixed archival materials
Head of the dental section at the U.S. Army base at Camp Crowder, Missouri, pioneer in plastic eye prosthesis. His interest in plastics and use of them in dentistry fueled his desire to fabricate an artificial eye. Two other army dentists became involved in making artificial eyes of plastic materials--Maj. Victor Dietz, Atlantic City, and Capt. Stanley F. Erpf, England. These three dentists were brought together by the Surgeon General at Valley Forge General Hospital, Phoenixville, Pa., to pool their knowledge of plastics, science, and medicine and to found the "Artificial Eye Laboratory." In six months they perfected the technique and developed an instruction program to train technicians. After one month these technicians were known as "opthalmoprosthetists". After the war Wirtz worked at Fitzsimmons General Hospital, Denver, Colorado. Though he became a millionaire on his royalties, he returned to Latimer, Iowa, to practice family dentistry.
Materials relating to Wirtz, D.D.S., and his involvement in the development of plastic eye prostheses, 1941-1947; includes news clippings about Wirtz and several articles regarding process and materials used to manufacture artificial eyes. The bulk of the collection consists of graphic displays of procedures used in fitting and processing the prosthesis: photoprints of servicemen with artificial eye prostheses, including the first plastic eye made at Camp Crowder, 1943; patients before and after being fitted with the artificial eye; persons involved in the process; and stainless steel dies with descriptive captions; and a syllabus for the course of instruction in fitting and manufacturing the eye, developed at Valley Forge General Hospital.
Milton S. Wirtz, D.D.S., Artificial Eye Collection, 1941-1947; 1973-1988, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
1991.3072 (NMAH Acc.)
Unrestricted research use on site, by appointment. Gloves required with unprotected photographs